A senior parish councillor says he resigned after he learned that part of a school field had been sold to the chairman of the parish council.

The Times can share a resignation letter by Nigel Heller, the former vice-chairman of Shenley Parish Council, that he wrote to the council in June.

In his letter, Mr Heller makes clear that his resignation came after he found out on June 12 about the sale of land at Shenley Primary School.

Parents and school governors were aggrieved about the field sale, which unbeknownst to them had been completed in February.

There were two buyers; one of whom was the chairman of Shenley Parish Council, Councillor William Susman.

Borehamwood Times:

A protest held at Shenley Primary School on June 13. Credit: Simon Jacobs

When Mr Heller resigned from the parish council towards the end of June, he declined to give a reason to the Times for his departure but said it was a matter of record with the council.

The parish council did not respond to a request by the Times on June 23 for an explanation behind Mr Heller's resignation but following enquiries about a second resignation this week, this letter has now been shared, and the contents can be found below.

Mr Heller wrote to the parish council in June: “Following the recent events concerning the land deal and the reaction on social media, I decided to resign as both vice chairman and parish councillor.

“I felt that as vice chair of the parish council, I should have been made aware of this potential conflict of interest that may exist with land abutting the school, which is clearly a community asset, and sits at the heart of Shenley.

“I reiterate that I knew nothing of this scenario prior to Friday June 12, along with everyone else who saw it on social media.

“Following a telephone discussion with the chairman of the parish council on Saturday afternoon (June 13), I decided to resign that evening.

“I find that to be accused of being a part of this by association, and to have the reputation of the other parish councillors called into question publicly on social media based upon speculation and not facts unacceptable.

“On a positive note, I would like to state that during my time on the parish council I have focussed on the relationship with the police and community police, and have seen a reduction in ASB, speeding and other crimes in our village.

“Hopefully this will be taken forward by another councillor who will continue to keep Shenley a safe place to live. Thank you for your community support which I was in office.”

Borehamwood Times:

Work to erect a fence on the school found separating the newly purchased land was paused following protests. Credit: Simon Jacobs

Following discussions between the school, Hertfordshire County Council officers, Hertsmere Borough Council leader Morris Bright, Cllr Susman, and fellow buyer Nikolai Levey, it has been agreed the school can continue to use the land for the time being.

Read more: County council claims it was never told how much it needed to pay to buy school field land

Meanwhile, a by-election to fill Mr Heller’s seat has been triggered but will not take place until next May.

A second councillor has resigned from the parish council.

Jonathan Bonn, a colleague of Cllr Susman and Mr Heller, stepped down this week, giving the council the following reason: “Due to work commitments and working away from home, I would like to resign my position as Shenley Parish Councillor with immediate effect.”

A written request from ten electors in the parish must be received by Hertsmere Borough Council by Tuesday 11 August to trigger a by-election.

The full election notice is available to view at www.hertsmere.gov.uk/electionnotices