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Protesters rally in support of councillors accused of ‘bullying’

PUBLISHED: 08:25 28 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:21 28 February 2020

Taila Taylor with fellow Attleborough councillor Lucan Grave, who chose not to attend the private meeting in support. Picture: Archant

Taila Taylor with fellow Attleborough councillor Lucan Grave, who chose not to attend the private meeting in support. Picture: Archant

Archant

Protesters rallied in support of two councillors accused of “harassment, bullying and intimidation” as their futures were discussed in private.

Protestors gathered outside Attleborough Town Hall as the future of councillors Taila Taylor and Ed Tyrer was discussed in a meeting which barred the press and public. Picture: ArchantProtestors gathered outside Attleborough Town Hall as the future of councillors Taila Taylor and Ed Tyrer was discussed in a meeting which barred the press and public. Picture: Archant

More than 50 people gathered outside Attleborough Town Hall on Thursday evening while councillors discussed a motion to remove Taila Taylor and Ed Tyrer from committee duties with Attleborough Town Council.

Eight councillors have accused the pair of "months of inappropriate behaviour" including "severe bullying" of council staff and fellow councillors, claims they strongly deny.

Eight Attleborough town councillors, including mayor Tony Crouch, have accused Taila Taylor and Ed Tyrer of Eight Attleborough town councillors, including mayor Tony Crouch, have accused Taila Taylor and Ed Tyrer of "harassment, bullying and intimidation". Picture: Archant

After an initial meeting had to be adjourned when protesters refused to leave, members including the mayor, Tony Crouch, came together for a second session which once again barred the press and public.

As townsfolk congregated peacefully in Queen's Square, hired security guards stood outside the town hall to ensure only councillors could enter, while police were on standby as a precaution.

Security blocked the public and press from entering Attleborough Town Hall as the future of Taila Taylor and Ed Tyrer was discussed. Picture: Archant Security blocked the public and press from entering Attleborough Town Hall as the future of Taila Taylor and Ed Tyrer was discussed. Picture: Archant

Those who signed the motion were the only councillors to turn up, while the remaining seven chose not to attend in protest.

"We don't think a legitimate process is being followed and this is our way of protesting," said Miss Taylor. "This whole thing goes against everything we should stand for in a democracy.

Attleborough town councillor Taila Taylor with her mother, Samantha. Picture: ArchantAttleborough town councillor Taila Taylor with her mother, Samantha. Picture: Archant

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"To this day, myself and Ed have not received a shred of evidence against us, so I don't know how those eight councillors think they've made an informed decision.

Police were at a previous meeting of Attleborough Town Council when 50 protestors refused to leave. Picture: ArchantPolice were at a previous meeting of Attleborough Town Council when 50 protestors refused to leave. Picture: Archant

"The support we've had is overwhelming. The last two weeks have been utterly draining and, if I didn't have this community backing, I'd have been lost."

Lucan Grave, one of the seven councillors who chose not to attend, added: "The seven, including myself, feel the eight who signed this motion have already made up their minds.

Debbie Lane, 55, was protesting against the running of Attleborough Town Council. Picture: ArchantDebbie Lane, 55, was protesting against the running of Attleborough Town Council. Picture: Archant

"I've been on the council since May and have simply seen colleagues, particularly Taila and Ed, try to ensure things are being done properly.

"None of us know what the bullying is and, when we've asked, we've just been completely ignored."

Protester Debbie Lane, who said she had previously received "appalling" treatment at the hands of the town council, emphasised that it was time for change.

"Some of these councillors act like it's a dictatorship," said Miss Lane. "People have stood down from this town council in the past because of the way it's been operated.

"There is sometimes a feeling that local government is corrupt, but we don't see it that way. What we see is a couple of councillors who have gone a bit power-crazy."

The eight councillors supporting the motion could not be contacted for comment on Thursday evening due to the press' exclusion from the meeting.


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