Cllr Norman Buck, who served on Wealden District Council for 27 years, with just one short break, has retired.
Fellow councillors were told that Cllr Buck has been unable to attend council meetings for some months and, as his situation is likely to continue for some time, he has decided to step down.
The resignation will not lead to a by-election because the next district council election takes place within six months.
Cllr Buck was first elected to the council to represent Buxted and Maresfield Ward in 1987. He took a short break from 1997 to 1999 then was re-elected.
He was chairman of the council from 2001 to 2003 and during his time as a councillor served as a cabinet member from 2003 to 2008 with the portfolios sustainable environment, direct services and change management. He was deputy leader from 2003 to 2006.
He served on the following committees: licensing, as chairman; leisure; tourism and arts as deputy chairman; personnel; employee consultative group; planning committee north, property sub-committee; police and resources’ resources review and the internal and audit scrutiny committee.
Leader of the council Cllr Bob Standley said:
“Given he has been unwell for some time I was not surprised when I heard that Norman had decided to resign from the council.
“When I joined the council in 2004 Norman had already been a member for 17 years. He first joined in 1987 and with a short gap, 97-99 whilst he was working abroad, has served Buxted and Maresfield as its representative on Wealden District Council.
“As a “new boy” on the council Norman was always ready to give me assistance and advice. When I joined Wealden Cabinet in 2007 that advice and assistance was again called upon and freely given by Norman.
“During his time on the council Norman took on many extra responsibilities in addition to his ward duties and served on many committees and spent many years as a member of the Wealden Cabinet in a number of different roles and was chairman for two years.
“Working with Norman was always a pleasure with his mixture of hard work and humour. I hope his health improves and that although no longer a councillor, he finds time to visit the council where I know he spent many enjoyable years representing Wealden residents.”
Cllr Buck has also represented the council on the following outside orgtanisations: Alms-houses – Buxted; South East Arts, South East England Tourist Board, Local Government Association, Sussex Rural Community Council, East Sussex Waste Management, Crowborough Town and Community Facilities Working Party; Local Strategic Partnership, East Sussex Downs and Wealden Primary Care Trust; South East Employers and as a board member of Freedom Leisure.
Cllr Claire Dowling who represents Uckfield Central on the council and is deputy leader and public health and community safety portfolio holder said:
“I knew Norman long before I became a councillor and he has always been a gentleman, polite and diligent. He was my deptuy when I chaired the personnel committee, was very reliable and knew what he was talking about.
“He always looked into what was on the agenda and took notice of feedback from residents – I am sure that is why they kept voting him back on to the council.
“He is a lovely man and I am very sorry he has retired due to ill health. Norman was never too busy to help if you had a problem.”
Cllr Ken Ogden who worked alongside Cllr Buck representing Buxted and Maresfield said: “I feel Norman was a heavyweight with aound 25 years of commitment to serving the community as district councillor. He invited me to join him some ten years ago, having served on the parish like Norman, with commitment to serve the residents of our ward.”
Cllr Ogden said Cllr Buck’s big achievement would be his push to move the Wealden Council offices to one site in Hailsham.
He added that times had changed over the last two years with policies making it difficult for village residents to fulfill plans and dreams, such as building a new village hall funded by selling off old sites.
The same policies were preventing the old doctors’ surgery at Buxted being lived in. “With luck and pressure we hope to overcome this soon,” said Cllr Ogden.
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