Entire town council called to order

An entire town council and its clerk will be trained to show more respect after a ruling from a local government watchdog.The move, ordered by the Standards Board, follows a long running war of words at Holt centred on environmentalist Dr Martin Jolliffe, who has now resigned as a town councillor, other members and clerk Di Dann.

An entire town council and its clerk will be trained to show more respect after a ruling from a local government watchdog.

The move, ordered by the Standards Board, follows a long running war of words at Holt centred on environmentalist Dr Martin Jolliffe, who has now resigned as a town councillor, other members and clerk Di Dann.

An investigation followed a complaint lodged against Dr Jolliffe over his conduct - but the outcome has been to call for more training for all the council.

The row has centred on plans to build a car park on land at Thornage Road in Holt, which Dr Jolliffe vehemently opposes, saying it would harm nearby wildlife sites, while all other councillors are in favour of the proposal because of the benefits it would bring to the town.


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The inquiry ended without reaching a conclusion over whether Dr Jolliffe had breached the board's code of conduct.

But the standards officer, in a direction to Emma Duncan, the monitoring officer at North Norfolk District Council who oversees the conduct of parish councils too, said: “I direct you to provide additional training for the council with a view to improving relationships and the smooth running of the council.

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“The training should include the obligations imposed on members by paragraph three of the council's code of conduct, with particular attention to the need for respect to be shown to others in order to ensure the council's effective use of resources and provision of services.”

Ms Duncan said the training would involve all members of the council and the clerk and she would soon be meeting with the clerk to discuss the format of the training and how it might take place.

Yesterday, Di Dann, clerk of Holt Town Council, said the council did not wish to comment further at this time. Dr Jolliffe was unavailable for comment.

A spokesman for the Standards Board said though the complaint had been referred for investigation it was decided it would be more productive to stop the investigation and issue a direction instead.

She said: “In cases such as this where we issue a direction, we make no finding of fact on whether the member has or hasn't breached the code of conduct.”

An earlier complaint against Dr Jolliffe made by “an employee of the council” to the Standards Board in August 2007 was thrown out late last year.

In the same month Dr Jolliffe stunned fellow councillors when he revealed that he had written to the government asking them to call in any decision made of the car park proposals.

He was also accused of abusing his position when he left the council's December meeting after just 25 minutes, staying only to speak on the car park issue - a move councillors branded “disgraceful behaviour”.

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