Criticism of councillor is unjustified

Northumberland Gazette latest
Northumberland Gazette latest

A self-styled transparency campaigner has turned his attention from a years-long crusade against Rothbury Parish Council onto the county council.

Tony Kell questioned Northumberland County Council’s ‘commitment to transparency’ after claiming he was dealt with in a ‘heavy-handed manner’ at the full council meeting last Wednesday. He says he was prevented from handing out ‘literature’ and challenged over filming the meeting.

A county council spokeswoman said: “While this was a meeting which members of the public are entitled to attend, that did not give Mr Kell the right to distribute his own materials. In this instance, it also led to confusion as to whether the document circulated had been issued by the council and was intended to form part of the business of the meeting.

“A member of the council raised the issue of filming during the meeting. The business chairman simply advised that filming is permitted, however, Mr Kell should have notified the chairman of his wish to film, and that is what the chairman asked him to do.”

The Gazette understands that the ‘literature’ was a document about the ‘expected’ resignation of Rothbury councillor, Steven Bridgett.

Meanwhile, online criticism of Coun Bridgett for some of his 2014 small schemes allowance being spent on resurfacing the road to Rothbury Golf Club, where he works, has been severely undermined.

A council spokeswoman said: “The member formally notified the council of his position and was not involved in the decision. The allocation of funding was approved by the chief executive and the deputy leader of the authority.”

She added: “The scheme to improve the road into Rothbury Golf Club was fully in accordance with the criteria for a capital improvement scheme and is similar in nature to many other improvement schemes at sports clubs across the county.

“The fact that the local member who offered funding from his small schemes fund for the project works at the club does not preclude money from being allocated in this way.”