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Mayor reported to DVLA over driving safety concerns

26 Mar 2023 3 minute read
Deputy Mayor Jill Owens and Mayor Alan Buckfield

Bruce Sinclair, local democracy reporter

Haverfordwest’s mayor, who said he had received anonymous warning letters, was reported to the DVLA by his own deputy mayor over concerns for his ability to drive safely, the town council heard.

The concerns about Mayor Alan Buckfield’s fitness to drive came about indirectly from an alleged incident during a visit Haverfordwest’s twin town of Oberkirch, Germany.

At the March 23 meeting of Haverfordwest Town Council, Mayor Alan Buckfield said: “Last November I decided to leave the town council; I was planning to leave in May but now there’s unfinished business. I will be leaving council as soon as I feel able to.”

He told members he would discuss the matter further in private, not alluding to it in detail.

Cllr Buckfield was then prompted by the clerk to mention an anonymous letter he had received.

“We don’t normally respond to anonymous things, an anonymous letter to ‘watch my back’,” said Cllr Buckfield.

“It’s happened once before; you get disaffected people saying: ‘we don’t like the town council’. I received this information through my door, that’s all there is to it.”

When asked if he passed the letter on to the police, Cllr Buckfield said: “I treated it with the contempt it deserves, it just said: ‘Be very, very careful, there are nasty people out there’.”

Cllr Buckfield was then asked by a member of the council if he had recently been anonymously reported to the DVLA.

Deputy Mayor Jill Owens responded to that, saying: “I said I’d reported the mayor to the DVLA due to comments made which gave us grave concerns about his safety to drive a vehicle.”

Alleged incident

That concern stemmed from an alleged incident – not believed to have involved driving – when Cllr Buckfield visited Haverfordwest’s German twin town of Oberkirch last September, as president of the town’s twinning association.

It has previously been reported that the town’s twinning association had initially wanted to remove Cllr Buckfield as president – a role traditionally held by the town’s mayoral office.

Last October’s minutes of Haverfordwest’s twinning association, under the title ‘mayoral invitation from Oberkirch: September 2022’, said: “Owing to previous actions by the mayor, Cllr. Alan Buckfield, the association wishes to remove him as president of the Haverfordwest Twinning Association.”

The association later had a change of heart, cancelling an extraordinary meeting that was due to be held on November 7 and the motion to remove Cllr Buckfield as president.

At the March 23 meeting, Cllr Buckfield responded to Cllr Owens: “That’s personal and private, I see no need to bring it to the council’s attention.”

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Owens said she had raised the concerns about Cllr Buckfield’s fitness to drive as a result of responses received following the alleged incident in Germany.

Cllr Buckfield, 76, also speaking after the meeting, declined to comment on the DVLA issue, but said he refuted the allegations about any ‘incident’ in Oberkirch, saying he had since been back to the twin town on March 1 for the inauguration of its Burgermeister.

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