Council meeting row: What the two sides say

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The police were called to attend Anston Parish Hall on Monday after the parish council’s regular monthly meeting descended into chaos.

Local resident Brian Lewis had sent a letter to the council complaining about the conduct of a parish councillor.

After voicing his concerns that the chairman appeared to be ‘fobbing him off’ Mr Lewis continued to demand a response.

Parish Council chairman Dominic Beck then ordered Mr Lewis to leave the meeting. When he refused the meeting was adjourned and the police were called.

David Smith, who was at the meeting, said it was an example of ‘bureaucratic stupidity’ on the part of the council. But Coun Beck said calling the police had been a ‘last resort’.

“It is a sorry day for people involved in public life who uphold their duties in the respectful and proper manner that the public demand, yet in return are castigated and vilified for their genuine efforts,” he said.

“It is more personally upsetting that it is the ordinary men and women on Anston Parish Council and indeed the majority of the public that are the victims of this attempt to high jack democracy in this ‘who can shout the loudest’ campaign.”

Coun Beck said the parish councillors ‘work tirelessly’ to ensure the local area is a better place to live and work.

“As Chairman, I cannot allow the democratic process to be hijacked by a few members of the public, who despite repeated requests, continued to shout and prevent a council meeting from taking place,” he added.

“For the sake of all residents, I hope they will reflect on their behaviour and engage in a constructive manner in future for the benefit of our village.”