Second town meeting planned following outcry
- Credit: Karen Bethell
Residents have called a second annual town meeting for Sheringham after an outcry over the first meeting, at which everyone except the person speaking was kept on mute.
A group of six residents have published an agenda for the second meeting.
It includes items such as allegations of workplace bullying at Sheringham Town Council, a payment for defamation the council made last year, and the council's handling of a site at Morley Hill, which was taken into public ownership.
Madeleine Ashcroft, Sheringham's mayor, said she would chair the meeting, but said she could not comment on it further because the council was "looking into the legality of responses".
The six residents have been able to call the extra meeting under the Local Government Act.
One of them, Richard Shepherd, said they objected to the way they were not allowed to raise issues during the meeting, which was held over Zoom.
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He said: “These are the questions many members of the public wished to ask at the annual parish meeting held on [April 27] – but unfortunately that meeting was structured in such a way that the public were denied their right to be heard and to seek answers from our elected councillors.”
There had been a deadline set for questions of April 23, but none had been received.
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Mrs Ashcroft said the council had to be “mindful that it was a pre-election period” – also known as purdah – “bearing in mind the likelihood of contentious issues being raised.”
Jon Payne, another Sheringham resident who called for the meeting, said the meeting could have been held after the elections on May 6 - as they can be held any time between March 1 and June 30.
Mr Payne said “If the council was worried that contentious issues would be raised, why didn’t they simply schedule the meeting to take place after the election, to make sure everyone’s views could be heard?"
The second meeting will take place, in person, on Monday, May 17 at 7pm, however a venue had not yet been decided.