Acle councillors quit in poison pen letter row

Two Norfolk parish councillors have resigned claiming they are the victims of false allegations and a poison pen letter concerning an acrimonious dispute at a village social club.

Acle Parish Council chairman Diane Fisher and fellow councillor Barry Brooks both sent letters of resignation to last night's parish council meeting in the Methodist Church.

On the same evening, about 200 villagers attended an extraordinary meeting of Acle Social Club in the nearby recreation centre to discover the committee of nine had resigned en-bloc ahead of a vote of no confidence.

Among those quitting were committee chairman Mr Brooks and Mrs Fisher's husband Dennis, who was the treasurer.

Mrs Fisher and Mr Brooks are currently holidaying together with their families in Florida, but extracts of their letters were read out to the council meeting.

Mrs Fisher, the chairman since May, said she had been an active member of the community during her 17 year term as a parish councillor.

However, for the past nine months she had been victimised over issues at the social club and the final straw had been an anonymous letter saying she was unfit to be a parish councillor.

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Mr Brooks said his resignation was the result of 'ongoing stress from unsubstantiated allegations made against him'.

Accepting their resignations with regret, the rest of the council agreed the pair had been the victim of disgraceful actions.

It is understood the escalating dispute at the club began last March when alleged irregularities in the way it was being run, including some allegations of a financial nature, were brought to the committee's attention.

Patrick Beales, 71, elected chairman of the club's new committee, said the vote of no confidence had been carried out regardless of committee members' prior resignations and was overwhelmingly in favour.

He said the new interim committee would lead the club up to the annual meeting in March and hoped to restore confidence in it.

He said: 'I have been a member of the club for 12 years and was asked to become involved because they thought I could be of use because I had been a JP for a number of years.'

The extraordinary meeting followed an earlier one on January 10 when a no confidence vote was blocked on a technicality.

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