St Neots councillor suspended from committees vows to fight on

St Neots sign

St Neots sign - Credit: Archant

A St Neots town councillor accused of making his fellow councillors look like a “bunch of clowns” has been suspended from all committees.

A meeting of the full town council on October 25 decided that the actions of Councillor Bob Farrer had potentially damaged the reputation of the council and a motion was passed to remove him from all the committees he serves on for a period of six months, although he will be permitted to attend the monthly town council meetings.

But as Cllr Farrer, who represents Eaton Ford, was not in attendance, it was agreed to ask him to attend a meeting where he will be given the opportunity to provide an explanation and the council may then consider reinstating him.

Cllr Farrer was said to have put forward his own views, which were contrary to the town council’s instructions, when he presented objections for a planning application on a proposed development in New Street, at a Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) meeting on October 17.

Councillor James Corley, who was also at the HDC meeting, said Cllr Farrer was asked three times by members of the development management panel (DMP) whether he wanted to proceed.

“We looked like a bunch of clowns,” said Cllr Corley,

Deputy mayor, Councillor Barry Chapman, said: “This is a disgrace. It is absolutely appalling that anyone would do this. He was not there [at the planning meeting] to give his own views - that was not the job he was asked to do.”

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Councillor Jeanette Smith said Cllr Farrer should apologise to his fellow planning committee members as he did not represent their views accurately and fairly.

The town council resolved that the places Cllr Farrer occupies on the committees will remain unfilled until he has had the opportunity to respond.

During a vote, 14 councillors voted in favour of the motion to suspend councillor Farrer, two were against and one councillor abstained.

When The Hunts Post contacted him after the meeting, Cllr Farrer said he was unhappy about the way the matter had been dealt with, but would not resign.

“I would have expected the town council’s planning panel to have spoken to me first. They should have spoken to me before jumping in, this is totally wrong.”

Cllr Farrer, who stands as an Independent, also blamed “poor communication and a lack of information” from the planning committee for the situation and claims he had not been made aware of an e-mail, sent on October 17, with new information regarding the New Street application.

“I represented the town to the best of the information that was provided to me prior to attending the DMP,” he said.

And in defiant mood, he added: “I do not intend to be chastised over other people’s mistakes and incompetence. Not to be given the right to defend myself prior to being removed from the committees is undemocratic.”