U-turn after official resigns

A LEADING parish official who announced he was quitting after a heated debate on the building of hundreds of homes is today back in office after he withdrew his resignation.

A LEADING parish official who announced he was quitting after a heated debate on the building of hundreds of homes is today back in office after he withdrew his resignation.

John Barker expressed concern over “dual-hatted members of single issue lobby groups” possibly trying to manipulate councils during a discussion over the future of Trimley St Martin.

The parish council was debating proposals for a fact sheet to be handed to the public before a public meeting.

Chairman Mr Barker was against putting what he described as “loaded” questions to the public over the issue of future development as this was not the way the council worked.


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Councillor Ian Cowan - a member of the Save Trimley Against Growth lobby group - denied the accusation of manipulation and after a “frank and heated exchange of words”, Mr Barker announced he was resigning as council chairman.

But Mr Barker never put his resignation in writing and legal officials at the district council said it would only take effect if he did so.

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Mr Barker said: “On reflection, for my part certainly, I said things which I certainly would not and should not have said if I had remained calm and collected.

“For these heated remarks, I am apologising to both councillor Cowan and the full council.

“Following the meeting I received telephone calls and e-mails of support from parish councillors, residents and other authority councillors. The common theme was asking me to reconsider my decision.

“I am committed to working with my colleagues on the parish council to ensure that in these difficult times, we remain and continue to remain totally opposed to any proposals that would destroy the character of this village and its surrounding countryside.”

Mr Cowan said that while all those involved had said things which they later regretted, councillors should be able to debate matters but show respect to each other's difference of opinions, without inflammatory language being used and reckless statements being made.

Do you think members of lobby groups should be able to sit on councils? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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