Disappointment as Saffron Walden clerk resigns

Interim town clerk Gordon Mussett has stepped down.

Interim town clerk Gordon Mussett has stepped down. - Credit: Archant

As far as first weeks in a job go, it has been a tough one for the new Saffron Walden mayor with the sudden departure of the town clerk and rescuing a popular event at the eleventh hour.

Within hours of touching down from holiday Councillor Heather Asker was notified interim clerk Gordon Mussett, who had been in the role since November, had on Monday handed in his resignation with immediate effect.

It means that until newly revealed Lisa Courtney arrives in August, the council will not have a clerk. However, Cllr Asker said she had full faith in the deputy clerk, and the rest of the council staff to carry on.

“It is disappointing that the interim town clerk chose to resign before the new council has had time to work with him on issues or to appoint his full-time replacement,” she added.

The resignation comes in the same week that the town hall’s reduced capacity meant a charity gig was under threat.

The sell-out Uncle Funk and the Boogie Wonderland concert on Saturday, organised by the Saffron Walden Ladies Circle, had been cancelled on Monday (May 18) as the town hall’s capacity had been “vastly” reduced due to a fire risk assessment.

Last Thursday, Mr Mussett informed event organisers that the council had received new guidance on the capacity of the venue after a fire risk assessment.

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The new advice, sought to resolve conflicting issues over numbers, has seen capacity reduced from 310 to 216, using a full stage.

On Tuesday, Uncle Funk’s gig was resurrected after work between the fire assessment team, the band and the town council. Cllr Asker said closer management of people would allow the concert to go ahead.

Although this gig will be going ahead, future big names may not be attracted to the town hall as events may not be financially viable.

It has led to more concern the prominent building will lie dormant after rental prices for groups were increased, leading to many seeking new venues or cancelling their events, as previously reported.

Uncle Funk posted on their Facebook page: “Saffron Walden Ladies Circle and Uncle Funk are excited to officially announce that Uncle Funk and the Boogie Wonderland is back on for this Saturday at Saffron Walden Town Hall. Please bare with us regarding any refunded tickets - we will be working with Tourist Information Centre to rectify this.”

The Reporter was not able to contact Mr Mussett before going to press last night (Wednesday).