Stradbroke Parish Council Chair claims council business discussed in the pub not the lodge

Much like J.K.Rowling’s novel of the same name it began with a casual vacancy. Another recently appointed Stradbroke parish councillor decided she had better things to do on a Monday night. Thankfully unlike in the novel she was still alive. I forget the reason we were given for her departure.

As I entered the room just before the meeting started it was strangely full of people. The assembled masses of Stradbroke come to defend their beloved council from the calumnies perpetuated by this blog and its owner. Tension was high.

Then I looked more closely at who was in the room. As I checked off the dozen or so people against  a mental list of family members of other councillors there were a handful remaining. The meeting began with two pre-written speeches the first from a wife of a long standing parish councillor.

That was followed even more bizarrely with another from the former clerk to the council Pam Cane. She gave a speech suggesting the council had done “all it could” to save the spar shop with no apparent acknowledgement of the fact she owns the freehold of the shop herself. As such she continues each month to receive rent on the empty shop whilst we continue to have no shop.

Once these people sat down I replied and the meeting began. The agenda continued until we came to the Chairman’s “report”.  I awaited another pre-written speech about my blog and disloyalty but what followed astonished me. Nick Stones began:
I was a bit surprised by James’s blog….discussions about parish council certainly aren’t held in lodge meetings they are always held in the Queen’s Head on a Thursday night
Stones then went on to suggest that the council act to censor an article in the village magazine called View from the Gallery - full disclosure this is written by my mother-in-law - as he claimed it was “inaccurate”.

Attempts to pin down just what was inaccurate led to a discussion about an incident at the last meeting where Chairman Nick Stones turned to a member of the public who was requesting money for a project and asked him how much he wanted. The member of the public replied with a humorous “please give generously” but Stones appeared to have no recollection of this happening and certainly not in the closed part of the meeting when he shouldn’t have been addressing members of the public. Another Councillor even tried unconvincingly to suggest it was him who had said this.

Thankfully censorship of the parish magazine was a step too far for other councillors. Even the two members who sit to the chairman’s right and eagerly propose and second every resolution Stones makes were silent. Stones admitted he hadn’t even consulted the magazine editors although one councillor somewhat bizarrely said they should be “held to account” which is a bit of a strange suggestion when it comes to volunteers.

The meeting got onto more comfortable territory - dog poo - and eventually ended.
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