Row forces community leader out

A PARISH councillor who has served his community for more than 35 years has resigned after a dispute with his village's Lord of the Manor.John Prigg, 81, from Station Road in Haughley, near Stowmarket, has quit, dismayed that he was reported to the Standards Board for England for allegedly insulting the village's lord of the manor Jeffrey Bowden.

A PARISH councillor who has served his community for more than 35 years has resigned after a dispute with his village's Lord of the Manor.

John Prigg, 81, from Station Road in Haughley, near Stowmarket, has quit, dismayed that he was reported to the Standards Board for England for allegedly insulting the village's lord of the manor Jeffrey Bowden.

Mr Prigg, who served for 13 years as chairman, said during his years on the council he had never before had a single complaint on any matter ever lodged against him.

Mr Prigg, who was the village butcher before retiring 16 years ago and continues to volunteer his time for local charities and the Church resigned and said he took exception to a colleague putting a complaint into the Standards Board for England about his conduct.

He said: “The allegations were completely untrue and the board found no evidence to support the allegation. I shall continue to work for the community. But I feel I no longer wish to serve alongside a person for whom I have no respect whatsoever.”

The complaints arose from discussion about the long running saga over the village green, in which Mr Prigg opposed steps taken by his council.

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The Palmer family, who run the bakery in the village, have been in dispute with parish councillors over access to the business they run on the land.

The authority wanted to limit the size of lorries which drive over the green to deliver to the bakery, and there were concern the green could be damaged. But more than 7,000 people signed a petition backing the shop with residents arguing that their village as not a museum and they wanted thriving businesses.

It was alleged that during a meeting in February Mr Prigg verbally abused Mr Bowden, to have said he was ashamed of his colleagues, and to have damaged the reputation of the parish council, but the standards board found no evidence of any breach of the code of conduct expected of councillors.

Mr Bowden said he also had no respect for Mr Prigg, but said it was not unheard of for councillors to disagree.

He said: “I am sure there are times when councillors do not get on at other authorities, it does not stop them serving.

“It would be hopeless if everyone agreed with each other, you'd have no debate. His heart is in the right place, there is no doubt about that, and he has done many, many years. But perhaps at 81 he does not need the aggravation of being on the council anyway.”

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