A CRAVEN councillor who lost his seat because he failed to attend a council meeting for six months - sparking an angry backlash from his supporters - has been told he will be able to continue helping people in his rural ward, even though he is no longer a member of the authority.

In September, Cllr David Pighills, Craven District Council’s Independent ward member for Barden Fell, was disqualified form the authority because he had not attended a meeting of the council since March.

The council said it was acting under national rules, and that Cllr Pighills, who lives in a remote area with poor internet coverage, had been offered help in accessing remotely held meetings, including the offer of an office at the council’s offices in Belle Vue Square, Broughton Road.

But Mr Pighills said he had not received the level of support suggested, and insisted that he was still fulfilling his role as a councillor by interacting with his parish councils.

Fellow district councillors and also parish councillors went to Mr Pighill’s defence, saying not everyone was computer literate, that he was an excellent ward councillor and ought to be reinstated.

There was also concern that with the suspension of by-elections because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Barden Fell ward would be left without representation until May at the earliest - when local elections deferred from this year are due to take place, but could be put back again.

Mr Pighills has now agreed with the council that he will continue to help out in Barden Fell and facilitate communications between his residents, parishes and the council.

Mr Pighills said: “I want the people of Barden Fell ward to know that I’m still here for them, and here to represent them if they need me.”

Councillor Richard Foster, leader of Craven District Council, said: “Unfortunately, because Mr Pighills was unable to attend a meeting for more than six months, under national rules his seat had to be declared vacant.

“Under current circumstances a by-election is obviously not possible, leaving the Barden Fell ward without representation.”

He added: “We don’t want to leave Barden Fell residents in this position so Mr Pighills has agreed that even though he is no longer a councillor, he is more than happy to continue to help Barden Fell residents and communicate between residents, parishes and the council. We will make sure he continues to receive the same access to officers that any member would.

“I’d like to thank David for continuing to offer his services until such time as a by-election can be held.”

Residents of Barden Fell can contact Mr Pighills on 01756 720662.