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Council passes no-confidence motion in councillor after claims of bullying and harassment

PUBLISHED: 21:20 29 January 2019 | UPDATED: 21:20 29 January 2019

Councillors at the North Walsham Town Council meeting on January 29, 2019. Picture: STUART ANDERSON

Councillors at the North Walsham Town Council meeting on January 29, 2019. Picture: STUART ANDERSON

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North Walsham Town Council has passed a motion of no confidence in one of its councillors over allegations of bullying, harassment and not "working as part of the team".

During a meeting at the town’s Dayspring Centre on Tuesday (January 29) councillors voted, in a secret ballot, 7:5 to censure Labour’s Elaine Addison.

There was one abstention and one blank ballot.

Councillor Jenny Melville, who put forward the motion, listed a swathe of complaints she had against Ms Addison in a statement given to this newspaper at the meeting.

Among them were: “Refusing to recognise and apologise (for) any wrongs including calling co-opted councillors ‘oiks’ by email”, “interference in other council wards”, and “numerous unnecessary emails to staff and councillors including two freedom of information requests against her own council”.

The vote was not discussed beforehand, due to a request which was passed as a motion by Ray Mooney and seconded by Ms Addison.

After the meeting, town mayor Barry Hester said he was also frustrated with the situation. He said: “It has just built up and she won’t listen. We make a democratic decision and she takes it to the monitoring officer.

“She has even written to the MP looking to overturn decisions made by this council.”

Ms Addison said following the meeting that she did not want to respond to the allegations. She said: “I think I’m going to try to remain above that.” She said she would pursue the matter with a monitoring officer.

Me Addison remains on the council, but Mrs Melville said she should be “taken off all committees with immediate effect” given the outcome of the vote. Mr Hester said this would be discussed at the council’s February full meeting.

Also at the meeting, councillors agreed, in principle, to award £5,000 to a planned ‘peasants’ revolt’ medieval-themed weekend in June, pending more information. It would be staged by the group Black Knight Historical and organisers hope it could become an annual fixture on the town’s calendar.

The festivities would take place over the June 15-16 weekend and include public events in Market Street.

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