Keeping it zipped
SHOCK DEPARTURE: Council hides behind statement rather than answer our questions
COUNCIL chiefs are this week refusing to reveal the reasons behind the shock resignation of the man in charge of bringing new jobs and businesses to Ashford. Martin Bacon, managing director of Ashford’s Future, the regeneration quango set up to bring investment into the town and oversee the building of 31,000 homes, quit suddenly on Monday. Council chiefs refused to say whether they are going to do anything about a website that has published a series of allegations about Mr Bacon.
THE man in charge of bringing new jobs and businesses to Ashford unexpectedly quit his job this week.
Martin Bacon, the managing director of Ashford’s Future, the regeneration quango set up to drive investment into the town and oversee the building of 31,000 extra homes in the area, resigned suddenly on Monday.
His abrupt departure has stunned councillors and others involved in some of the town’s high-profile regeneration schemes.
Neither Ashford Borough Council or the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) were prepared to say whether they were going to do anything about a website that has published a series of allegations about Mr Bacon.
However, in a short statement SEEDA did confirm that Mr Bacon, who was reportedly on a six-figure salary, was the subject of disciplinary action prior to quitting.
The resignation has left Ashford’s Future in turmoil and the loss of a key figure will re-ignite anxieties over the area’s ability to capitalise on its status as a designated government growth area.
Ashford council declined to respond to a series of questions the Kentish Express asked about Mr Bacon. In a short statement, it said: “We have been notified that Martin Bacon, managing director of Ashford’s Future, has resigned his position. He was employed by the South East of England Development Agency (SEEDA) and worked on secondment to Ashford Borough Council to work with key public, private and government partners to manage the Ashford growth programme.”
SEEDA was also tight-lipped and issued an almost identical statement, which stated: “He was employed by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) but worked on secondment to Ashford Borough Council.
“He and his team were based in Ashford and he reported to the council in his managerial position.
It is not appropriate for SEEDA to discuss the matters of a private disciplinary case outside the organisation.”
Council leader Paul Clokie, who also chairs the Ashford’s Future board which monitors the quango, said: “He has left for his own personal reasons and I am not prepared to discuss them.”
Council chiefs have hinted they may consider a wide-ranging review of Ashford’s Future “to deliver the next phase of growth”.
Martin Bacon has resigned amid a flurry of speculation
Ashford Borough Council leader Paul Clokie: “He left for his own personal reasons and I am not prepared to discuss them.”
Council leader Paul Clokie and chief executive David Hill with Martin Bacon in happier times before his mysterious resignation