Councillor ‘feared for her safety’ as police are called to parish meeting

NMAC12-1902-1''Edwinstowe Village Hall
NMAC12-1902-1''Edwinstowe Village Hall

A council chairman says she ‘feared for her safety’ after the police were called when a parish meeting descended into chaos.

Coun Celia Brooks of Edwinstowe Parish Council called a halt to Thursday’s monthly council meeting in the village hall after just 15 minutes because of heated exchanges between the councillors and members of the public.

More than 20 local residents were in attendance, and as the floor was opened for the public to ask questions, tempers flared firstly over the newly-built skate park, and then the village allotments, for which the council and allotment holders are engaged in an ongoing dispute over the administration of the Ollerton Road site.

The parish council is intending to take over the administration of the allotments, but there have been objections from some plot holders over various related issues.

Tensions finally boiled over when an allotment holder was accused of slander by Coun Brooks after he referred to one, unnamed person, as being ‘mentally unstable’ and ‘in need of help’.

After being told his comments were unacceptable by Coun Brooks, and that could not longer speak, others waded in, even labelling the council ‘corrupt’.

Resident Sheila Norton, who wanted to raise points about the allotments, was then told she could not speak as proceedings spiralled out of control.

Coun Brooks called the meeting off, asking the clerk, Alice Dunn, to call the police after demanding all members of the public leave.

Speaking to Chad the next day, Coun Brooks said: “It’s been the same at previous meetings, but they have continued.

“It was getting out of hand, we were not being allowed to speak and we feared for our safety.

“I have never ever closed a meeting like that before, but I could not allow it to carry on.

“I asked Alice to ring the police number 101, and we were told that if it got any worse we should phone 999, but thankfully they left.

“We could not have allowed it to carry on like it was.”

In response, Sheila Norton, denied there was aggressiveness towards the council, adding: “I was stunned by what happened, I expected to be able to put my point forward and then listen to the debate.

“People have been told to shut up before or asked to leave but nothing like this has happened.

“It’s not democratic, and the parish council is just not listening to what the people want to say so I can understand the frustration.”