Police are called after fresh row erupts at town council
- Credit: Archant
Police were called to a meeting of St Neots Town Council in the latest round of an acrimonious row involving a former councillor.
Bob Farrer, who served on the council until May, has now been banned from all the authority’s premises.
But Mr Farrer has hit back with a letter from solicitors which says the council has “no power” to impose a legally effective blanket ban and that he did not recognise such a ban.
It said Mr Farrer accepted that councils had a power to exclude disorderly people and that his conduct must not be allowed to disrupt meetings - but disruptive behaviour must take place before a person could be excluded.
Mr Farrer voluntarily left the council’s building on July 24 - where he had been attempting to speak in the public session at a council meeting - after two police officers arrived. A PCSO had earlier asked him to leave.
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The incident is part of a long-running dispute over allegations made by Mr Farrer about the way the council has been run and his treatment.
In March, Mr Farrer, who was then still on the council, walked out of a meeting over the same issue after his “legal advisor” Ken Churchill, another former councillor, was told to leave when he tried to intervene on Mr Farrer’s behalf and the situation turned nasty.
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Town clerk Ed Reilly said the mayor, Councillor Barry Chapman, adjourned the meeting after Mr Farrer made some allegations and was abusive.
A PCSO arrived at the building, followed later by two police officers, and Mr Farrer left.
Mr Reilly said the incident had taken up about an hour of the council’s time and, although councillors were able to resume business, part of the meeting had to be put off until Monday.
He said councillors had voted unanimously to ban Mr Farrer from council premises.
“These are all people who give up their own time to do this and someone is stopping them working which is making them angry,” Mr Reilly said.
Mr Farrer told the Hunts Post that “things got a little heated” when he tried to press the points he had made at previous meetings and he had been asked to leave, but refused because he wanted an answer to his questions.
He said he felt it was “out of order” when it was suggested the police be called after the meeting was adjourned and he returned to his seat when the councillors left the room.
Mr Farrer said: “So I sat and waited. After 10 minutes a community officer turned up. He asked if I would leave and I said ‘you have not got the power to ask me to leave, could you get a police officer’?
“So I waited sitting in the room for some 25 minutes at which point two officers arrived. They were both pleasant and understanding and were aware there was little they could do as I had not caused any breach of the peace.”
He added: “They did give me an incident number. I then agreed to leave of my own accord.”