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Ashford Labour councillor Chris Clark forced to answer questions from concerned residents over the fact he is living in Croydon

Questions have been raised over how an Ashford Borough councillor who has moved nearly 60 miles away will continue to represent residents in his ward.

Chris Clark, who is listed as living in Pluckley on the Ashford Borough Council (ABC) website, has been the Labour councillor for Beaver ward in Ashford since the 2011 borough elections.

Labour's Chris Clark
Labour's Chris Clark

However, it has now emerged that Cllr Clark, who works for Transport for London, has been living in Croydon since earlier this year after moving in with his partner of five years.

He is also planning to stand as a Labour candidate in Croham ward, in Croydon, in 2014.

The London Borough of Croydon is about 56 miles from Ashford.

Worried ward residents have now questioned how Cllr Clark intends to represent electors when he is living so far outside the area.

Bill Barrett, of Flaxpond Road (Beaver ward), said: “I have asked Cllr Clark how he intended to reconcile living so far away in London and working there with serving the needs of myself and others in Beaver Ward.

“I also asked, would Ashford Council be paying for his travel expenses to attend weekly meetings, and I asked would he be able to tell me how often he would actually be in Ashford?

“I have received no reply. I don’t see how Mr Clark can expect the people who voted for him to believe he can live and work in London whilst serving the community in Ashford.”

Cllr Clark, 33, is adamant however that he can still serve his ward members. regardless of his address.

He said: “I moved to Croydon to live with my partner because I wanted to spend more time with her. However, I still have a base in Ashford as my parents live in Pluckley.

“I am not claiming any expenses. I have a season ticket to Ashford, which I pay for myself, and I will travel down when required. I have no intentions to resign and I enjoy serving the people in my ward.

“I am accessible to residents when they need me and will always answer phone calls and emails as soon as I can.”

Mr Clark also claims that it is highly unlikely he will win the seat in Croham, in Croydon.

Labour Cllr Brendan Chilton
Labour Cllr Brendan Chilton

The leader of Ashford Borough Council’s Labour group, Brendan Chilton, has also jumped to Cllr Clark’s defence.

He said: “Essentially, Chris met a woman and he moved to Croydon earlier this year to be with her. It is perfectly legitimate.

“He is standing in Croydon for a rock solid Tory seat. The Labour candidates in Croham, in Croydon, approached him and asked him to stand so that people would have a Labour candidate to vote for. He is doing it as a favour. He won’t win.

“Chris has no intentions of resigning and is completely committed to Ashford. He will continue to represent Beaver Ward.

“I haven’t heard any complaints from members of his ward but if anyone has any concerns please contact me by emailing brendan.chilton@ashford.gov.uk.”

To contact Cllr Clark email chris.clark@ashford.gov.uk

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