Council disappointed it was unable to discuss ‘delicate human resources issue’ due to protesters
PUBLISHED: 12:21 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:21 19 February 2020
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2016
A town council at the centre of a row over alleged bullying said it was “disappointed” that protesters had prevented it from discussing whether two of its members should be removed from their positions.
An extraordinary meeting of Attleborough Town Council descended into chaos on Monday night when more than 50 people protested at proposals to remove two elected councillors, Taila Taylor and Edward Tyrer - from positions within the council.
On Tuesday, it emerged the proposal was made by other members of the town council after staff at the council made claims of bullying against the pair, which Ms Taylor "categorically denied".
READ MORE: Bullying allegations emerge in town council row
Since the meeting Attleborough Town Council and mayor Tony Crouch had remained quiet on the issue, but on Tuesday evening their solicitor, Nicholas Hancox, released a statement expressing the council's "disappointment" with the incident.
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In it, he writes that "despite a resolution lawfully excluding the press and public" from the meeting, "about sixty" people refused to leave the council meeting room, even when asked to do so by police.
Mr Hancox said the discussion concerned "a delicate human resources issue" and that opening the meeting to the public would "not have been fair on the Council employees involved".
He went on: "Despite a resolution lawfully excluding the press and the public from yesterday's meeting (the Council's legal power is in section 1 of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960), about sixty members of the public refused to leave the council meeting room - even when encouraged to do so by a police sergeant in uniform. The matter due to be discussed by the council is connected with a delicate human resources issue and it would not have been fair on the council employees involved to debate such matters in public."
The meeting was adjourned after Mr Crouch left the building.
READ MORE: 'Our town is a laughing stock' - Town hits out at council following 'shambles' of a meeting
Vera Dale, councillor and former town mayor, assured the crowd the rearranged meeting would "not happen behind closed doors".
In a statement released yesterday, Mr Crouch said: "We have not yet arranged a date for the resumption of this meeting, but I am expecting our meeting to be reconvened within a few weeks."