A PARISH council has been rocked by the shock resignation of its leader, who branded the local authority ‘dysfunctional’.

Former chairman Gary Wright resigned from Alston Moor Parish Council last week after 26 years of service on the council.

In a letter read out at the meeting, Mr Wright told councillors: “It is with deep regret that I hereby resign not just as chair of Alston Moor parish council but also as a parish councillor.

“As I see it there is no way forward whilst certain councillors continue to try to discredit other councillors at every opportunity they get.

"Yet again we have had to endure a torrent of emails some of which have been quite spiteful.

“This is a totally dysfunctional council and I no longer want my name to be associated with the acrimony that exists.

"Certain councillors have no idea about how a parish council runs.

“For most part of my 26 years as a councillor I have enjoyed it and I thought when I became chair I could turn things around - that was quickly disproven.”

Mr Wright forms part of the Wrights Bros. Coaches business in Nenthead and members of the Alston community praised him for his dedicated work.

Councillor Jacky Hewison said: "26 years of helping and volunteering in the community, thank you Gary Wright ."

Mr Wright was unanimously voted in as chairman in October 2019 as a replacement for former chairwoman Alix Martin, who resigned from the role due to personal reasons.

Alston Moor Parish Council praised Mr Wright for his services to the council.

“We are sorry to lose Gary as a parish councillor and chairman,” parish council clerk Chris Johnson said.

“Gary is a well known and respected member of the community and businessman, and a number of local people will have seen him as a volunteer driver for the Alston Essentials delivery service during the lockdown.

“He is continuing his involvement with the County Council Traffic Management meetings, and as a member of Alston Moor Business Association.

"I have worked alongside many chairmen and chairwomen during my time as clerk, and have great respect for him both as an individual and chairman and long serving parish councillor.”

Mr Wright was contacted for comment.