A COUNCILLOR who supported protestors opposing a waste plant has resigned citing work commitments.

Colin Durham, of Ynysddu, was elected in 2012 and recently represented the Lower Sirhowy Valley Residents Group in their fight against a proposed recycling plant at Nine Mile Point, Cwmfelinfach.

The campaign was led by ward councillors with over 100 residents protesting at a Penallta House committee, where the planning permission was granted on December 9.

But Mr Durham has said balancing his full-time job as an engineer and supporting the 'residents fight' became an 'impossible task'.

"The time and dedication needed reading and researching planning applications, planning laws and procedure and meeting with residents/ local bodies is immense," he added.

“When I stood for councillor, I was at the time employed on a part-time basis, but I recently found I was not able to support my colleagues in a manner to be expected from a fellow representative, or local residents.”

Mr Durham recalled his involvement in the Ynysddu flood prevention scheme and maintaining local services as 'instructive and fulfilling' parts of the role but noted the organisation of local authority as a major reason for his resignation.

He said that when meetings are timetabled around 5pm, or during 'normal working day' hours, councillors in full time employment have to 'obtain time off, arrive late, or not attend'.

“It would appear, as I have experienced, a councillor needs to be, unemployed, part time working, retired, self-employed or employed by a philanthropic employer to take on and function efficiently in the role of councillor," he added.

“This is not conducive to a good decision making process.”

Mr Durham claimed that his decision was also based around 'supporting his family' in the 'likely event' of being deselected due to Welsh Government reorganization plans, leading to a 'vast reduction in councillor numbers'.

Reflecting on the Nine Mile Point planning application, he was also surprised at the 'apparent disregard of local residents feelings' and 'elected councillors hiding behind planning laws and procedures', he said.

Cllr Jan Jones, of Ynysddu Ward, said of Mr Durham. "He has been a very good councillor, has done everything that has been asked of him and been there for the people of the valley.

“I’m very sad that he couldn’t continue to the end of his term but work commitments had made it very difficult for him to carry on.”

Cllr Keith Reynolds, leader of the council, confirmed Mr Durham had submitted his resignation.

He said: “I would like to thank Colin for his valuable contribution to the council since his election in 2012 and for his work representing the communities within the Ynysddu ward.

“We respect his decision and acknowledge that being a councillor is a demanding and challenging role which is often difficult to juggle alongside other commitments.”

Mr Durham added: “I do not believe any councillor that has any form of full time employment, in any type of field, can justify representing their local electors satisfactorily.

“Being a local councillor, I have found out, is a full time job in itself.”

A council spokesman confirmed the ward vacancy will be “formally advertised in due course”.