Clerk responds to criticisim

Legal advice is being sought after it was heard that the parish council was accused of taking part in fraudulent activity.

At last Wednesday’s monthly meeting, chairman Coun Mark Gilson raised grave concerns about the accusation, which had been the subject of a letter to him.

Resident Sheena Cummings asked Coun Gilson to read a letter which stated that during his election campaign, Tony Kell had visited her at home.

It said: “I was extremely distressed when he informed me there are fraudulent activities taking place within the council.

“He gave me a figure of money which I can’t remember, but it was in the tens of thousands.”

She added that she was told the clerk and chairman were ‘in control’ and that the clerk had ‘repeatedly denied access to financial accounts’.

However Mrs Cummings said she was ‘extremely perturbed to hear his accusations’ and said she did not believe what he had said.

Another letter to the council also stated the same accusations.

Coun Gilson said that the parish council has also been reported to the police and is being investigated.

Coun Jeff Reynalds added that councillors received a solicitor’s letter from Mr Kell which stated that he was planning to recoup costs of £5,000 from the parish council, which he has spent in his quest to find answers to different questions.

Coun Chris Roberts said: “This is not just directed at the parish council, but also members past and present.

“We all have reputations to keep and this could be very damaging to some of us.”

Coun Gilson said he was ‘frightened’ by the accusations.

He added: “Reluctantly we have to seek legal advice and it worries me how much this will cost to the taxpayers of this parish.”

“It will now be up to a judge.”

Coun Brian Hesler said if the council is certain it is operating legally, then all costs will be claimed back on conclusion of the case.