Norfolk and Suffolk's most chaotic council meetings

Police were called to a meeting at Attleborough Town Council. Photo: Bethany Wales

Police were called to a meeting at Attleborough Town Council. Photo: Bethany Wales - Credit: Archant

Following the viral video from Handforth Parish Council, many were shocked to see just how heated local council meetings can get. 

And in town and parish councils across Norfolk and Suffolk it’s no different. 

From councillors being carried out on chairs to arguments about geese, you’d be surprised to know that Jackie Weaver is not alone. 

Briston Parish Council

Back in 2011, a North Norfolk parish council meeting descended into farce when a call was lodged to police and one member was lifted in his chair and carried into the car park for refusing to leave

Kevin Craske remained seated when ordered out of the room by then council chairman Tony Serne and described what followed as like being in a scene from the television comedy The Vicar of Dibley.  

The bizarre scenes at an extraordinary meeting of Briston Parish Council were part of a long-running dispute centred on Mr Craske's wife, who was the clerk of the council for 23 years but was suspended. 

Beyton Parish Council  

In 2014 a long-running row over geese on a green, in Beyton, near Bury St Edmunds, led a parish council to the brink of collapse

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Tensions boiled over after a local campaigner - who raised their concerned about the council reintroducing geese to the village green - attempted to record a meeting.

Resident Sandy Maynard cared for the geese after a series of dog attacks and accidents. After the ninth bird was killed by a dog, she felt no more geese should be brought in.

While filming, Mrs Maynard said councillors failed to provide a decent vantage point and a member repeatedly tried to obscure her view.

She then told councillors they would have to call police to stop her.

Two officers arrived, but took no further action.

Councillors were later forced to accept the filming of meetings after a change of law, which led to three members quitting. 

Attleborough Town Council

Attleborough Town Council has found itself embroiled in a series of controversies and bitter rows, including investigations surrounding the town clerk who was recently sacked.

But in February 2020, police were called to the town's chaotic council meeting after members of the public refused to leave, in a night which also saw the mayor storm out and the building evacuated over fire fears. 

More than 50 people attended as councillors warred over a proposal to remove two of its elected members - Taila Taylor and Edward Tyrer - from positions within the council. 

The discussion had been due to be held in private, but members of the public refused to leave the room, arguing there was no justification for excluding them. 

Attendees refused to leave, however, and police officers entered the room. 

But, in a show of defiance, several people volunteered to be arrested, and the crowd remained in place. 

People volunteered to be arrested at an Attleborough Town Council meeting. Photo: Bethany Wales

People volunteered to be arrested at an Attleborough Town Council meeting back in February 2020. - Credit: Archant

Brandon Town Council

In Brandon, on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, the chairman of the town council was called to resign after he told members of the public to “suck up and live with” a contract blunder which has cost the authority £15,000. 

Phil Wittam told onlookers at a virtual meeting of Brandon Town Council, on Monday, November 9 last year, that the council had “made a mess” of a consultancy contract. 

After back-and-forth between councillors and members of the public on the issue, Mr Wittam finally told them to “suck it up and live with it”. 

“I will shoot anybody right between the eyes in three years' time if they suggest we signed up with Ellis Whittam for a third period of five years,” he said. 

Chairman of Brandon Town Council has been called to resign. Picture: Chris Bishop

Chairman of Brandon Town Council has been called to resign. Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

Norwich City Council

During a virtual meeting held by Norwich City Council one member called her colleagues idiots

Norwich City Council’s planning committee met on Thursday, December 10, last year, to consider the plans for eight two-bed flats in a three-storey building on the site of the now-demolished Vikings Venture Scout Hut on Dereham Road in Norwich.  

Opinion on how to proceed was split, and as a vote was taken councillor Judith Lubbock put her head in her hands and, not realising her microphone was on, said “oh dear… idiots”.  

After the meeting, she said she was “exasperated”, but said she wholeheartedly apologised and had written to committee chairman Keith Driver to that effect.   

A screenshot from the virtual Norwich City Council meeting.

A screenshot from the virtual Norwich City Council meeting. - Credit: Zoom


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