The anonymous administrator of a village messageboard at the centre of a row between rival factions at a parish council has hit back at claims it has become a "cesspit".

Robert Foster, who is at odds with fellow Spooner Row Community Council members, has said the online village forum is being used as a mouthpiece to conduct a smear campaign against him.

But the administrator of the site, who goes by the name Webstation, has defended its role in providing a voice for the community.

Wymondham & Attleborough Mercury: Trouble is brewing in the quiet village of Spooner RowTrouble is brewing in the quiet village of Spooner Row (Image: Sonya Duncan)

The messageboard has played a significant part in the ongoing divisions in the village, triggered by disagreements over another website.

Mr Foster, who helped set up an official website for the Spooner Row Community Council, has refused requests from fellow councillors to hand over its control to them.

As a result, council business - and fierce debate - now takes place on the messageboard.

One of the reasons Mr Foster has said he does not wish to relinquish control of the main site is because he fears it would be used to attack him, as he claims the messageboard is.

“I was not going to give up control of the website without proper assurances that certain individuals would not turn it into a cesspit like the Spooner Row message board had become,” he said.

But Webstation said: "These accusations do not portray an accurate picture of the role Spooner Row messageboard has played in the situation.

"The forum was set up 20 years ago by volunteers and has played a crucial and popular role within this community for informal chats on local issues.

"His claim is nonsense. It is moderated responsibly with impartiality and is completely independent with no political bias.

"The messageboard does not attack him, and he has the opportunity to respond to any comments posted about his behaviour.

"With ongoing local issues, the messageboard remains crucial for residents to express their dependent views, anonymously if they choose to do so for whatever reason."

Wymondham & Attleborough Mercury: Robert Foster, of Spooner Row Community CouncilRobert Foster, of Spooner Row Community Council (Image: SRCC)Mr Foster renewed his criticism, however.

“I have seen a whisper campaign against me and the attacks on the forum are ongoing," he said.

"Any website in this day and age that defaults to anonymous posts is not appropriate anywhere in society. There should be transparency as to who is saying what."

Wymondham & Attleborough Mercury: The Spooner Row messageboard is used by members of the local communityThe Spooner Row messageboard is used by members of the local community (Image: Spooner Row Messageboard)

Since details of the extraordinary village row emerged, users of the forum have taken to the messageboard to offer support following Mr Foster's criticism.
Wymondham & Attleborough Mercury: Spooner Row Village Hall, where the parish council meetSpooner Row Village Hall, where the parish council meet (Image: Sonya Duncan)

One, named 'Andy', said it is the only way "people of the community can vent their frustration and anger" at the state of the council.

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Another anonymous user feared the situation made the council "look like a complete shambles."