A STORMY meeting at Hughenden Parish Council last night resulted in another vote of no confidence from parishioners-the second this year.
John Beveridge of Hughenden Valley spoke on behalf of more than 40 residents in attendance and called for a vote of no confidence in the parish council, following an ongoing row about rural affordable housing.
Chairman Peggy Ewart suspended the meeting and said: “I am going to stop you because you have no right.”
Mr Beveridge continued with his speech with encouragement from other residents calling for “freedom of speech.”
He cited the reasons for the call, claiming the following: the council have not conformed to general parish council practices and its own code of conduct, its business has not been transparent and a minimal note of questions in public speaking was minuted.
Other claims from Mr Beveridge included conflicts of interest which have not been declared properly, not exercising due process or properly examining the case for Rural affordable housing and inaccurate financial reporting. (see link below for full speech)
He added: “The attitude of HPC and some of its members has been arrogant, uncaring and in disregard to the genuine and responsible concerns of parishioners and the organisations that represent them. HPC's performance is both inadequate and irresponsible; it is failing in its public duty.”
The policeman who was in attendance after giving his report earlier in the meeting asked Mr Beveridge to leave but parishioners asked for him to continue. 49 people supported a vote of no confidence and there were two abstentions. He left when he finished talking.
There was a vote of no confidence in the parish council at the Annual General Meeting in May. The row began in the parish about the process to find sites for rural affordable housing after a site in Warrendene Road was named which is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Green Belt and agricultural land in a previous survey.
A new housing needs survey has been sent out.
Last night Cllr Ewart said: “We have a job to do. If you will allow us to get on with that job you may stay, otherwise the meeting will be closed.”
She said the vote had not been recorded. Most of the residents then left the meeting, which had started with a statement from the chairman (see link below).
Buckinghamshire County Councillor Richard Pushman said: “I cannot understand the motivation for so much venom that is being generated at the current time.”
He said residents were “single minded on this particular issue” and it was a “sad state of affairs” and said the vote was not legally binding. He said he “understood” their concern but it can be discussed.
Later in the meeting councillors discussed a “particularly unpleasant piece of blogging” on the Bucks Free Press website about the clerk, Lynne Turner.
The comment was made on one of the Hughenden Parish Council stories on September 15.The comment was removed by the BFP following a complaint it was in breach of our terms and conditions.
Cllr Ewart said: “The clerk was extremely upset and I don't blame her.”
They decided to go to a solicitor and a letter has been sent to the BFP asking for the name of the person who wrote the blog.
She added: “With this particular one, we have spent some of the council's money in an attempt to find out the name of that particular blogger.”