Trustees hit back in Hickling hall row

Charity trustees have hit back in a row over a new village hall accusing Hickling Parish Council of scaremongering and holding a gun to their heads.

A financial dispute between hall trustees and the authority came to a head at Monday night's parish council meeting when council chairman Sandra Clarke reported negotiations with the charity had completely broken down.

She said a special council meeting next Tuesday would now have to consider raising the precept by more than 300pc to cover the risk of the village being sued by the charity over a sum of �21,000 it claims the council owes it.

However, trustee David Pugh accused the council of holding a gun to their heads to try and force them to back down over the money before Tuesday's precept-setting meeting.

He said it was 'scaremongering' to suggest the council needed to raise the precept by 300pc, arguing it would still have a surplus by the end of the year.

Denying allegations of a lack of financial clarity, he said the charity had provided the council with clear evidence of what had been spent on the building project.

He added that they had offered the council ways of reducing the disputed sum and they had refused to take it up.

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Mr Pugh insisted complaints made to the Charity Commission about the charity had been rejected on the grounds of there being no substance.

He said: 'The trustees have never done anything illegal and have only ever acted with the interests of our community at heart. We have, despite the almost constant delays from the current parish council, delivered the superb new village hall just two weeks over time and less than 1pc over budget.'

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