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Parish council which sacked cleaner for whistleblowing closes office

PUBLISHED: 10:51 24 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:35 24 January 2018

Cleaner and caretaker Lindsey Miles was sacked by Terrington St Clement Parish Council after raising concerns about a building's fire alarms not working. Picture: Lindsey Miles

Cleaner and caretaker Lindsey Miles was sacked by Terrington St Clement Parish Council after raising concerns about a building's fire alarms not working. Picture: Lindsey Miles

Archant

A parish council, which sacked its cleaner for whistleblowing about fire safety, claims it has been forced to close its office because of “animosity” shown towards it in the wake of the case.

The Pavilion on Terrington's Memorial Field. Photo: Archant The Pavilion on Terrington's Memorial Field. Photo: Archant

Terrington St Clement Parish Council was ordered by an employment tribunal in November to pay its former cleaner and caretaker Lindsey Miles more than £2,000 for dismissing her last year.

Miss Miles had raised concerns that the fire alarm system was not working in the council-run Pavilion in Churchgate Way and groups hiring the building had not been told.

She claimed the parish clerk, Karen Treacher, told her “ignorance is bliss and not to say anything more”.

The tribunal judge ruled in Miss Miles’ favour, saying he was “entirely satisfied” the reason for Miss Miles’ dismissal was because she complained about the fire alarm system.

Parish councillor Sheila Young gave evidence to the tribunal against sacked cleaner Miss Miles. The judge described Cllr Young's evidence as being Parish councillor Sheila Young gave evidence to the tribunal against sacked cleaner Miss Miles. The judge described Cllr Young's evidence as being "like shifting sand". Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

But Miss Treacher, who gave evidence in defence of the council along with councillors Sheila Young and Barbara Hill, hit back today - claiming “misrepresentations” had been made during the tribunal.

After the tribunal hearing she had submitted a grievance asking for a panel to hear her concerns.

She said she refuted the comments attributed to her in the tribunal that “ignorance is bliss”.

She added: “I did not have any part in the dismissal of Miss Miles other than answering the allegations she had made against me and by providing the information and evidence that exonerated me of any blame.

“The dismissal of Miss Miles was agreed by three members of the (parish council’s) personnel committee.”

She added in a statement that over her 24 years as a parish clerk, she had been “subject to vile attacks on my character”.

And she claimed she was being trolled on Facebook through a page called Defend Terrington.

The private Facebook group was set up to oppose a new housing development on Benns Lane in the West Norfolk village.

The most recent parish council meeting, held last Thursday, ended after a few minutes when questions were asked about Miss Miles’ dismissal.

And Miss Treacher said the council’s office had now been closed until further notice because of “behaviour displayed” at the meeting. The office is normally open on Tuesday and Thursday.

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