Chairman criticises ‘embarrassing’ council behaviour

Steyning Parish Council held their annual meeting on Monday SUS-170322-133220001
Steyning Parish Council held their annual meeting on Monday SUS-170322-133220001

The chairman of Steyning Parish Council said he has been ‘embarrassed’ by the ‘disruptive and disrespectful’ behaviour within the council over the last year.

Councillor Steve Northam made the comments during Steyning Parish Council’s annual meeting held at the Steyning Centre, on Monday.

He said: “Members of the public who have attended some of our council or committee meetings over the past year or more may well have witnessed deeply divided opinions and sometimes excessively heated discussions.

“There are no rules to say that council discussions must be harmonious at all times, indeed it would probably be an unhealthy sign if we were all in agreement on every topic at times.

“Nevertheless, these divisions have at times become disruptive to an unacceptable degree and it will be my intention, should I be re-elected as chairman for the forthcoming year, to encourage a more robust approach towards disruptive and disrespectful behaviour within council.

“We try to present a better image to the public but at times it has been embarrassing.”

At the meeting, Steyning resident Trevor Cree sought clarification on which councillors were being referred to but Mr Northam said he was ‘not referring to individual councillors’.

Mr Cree said he was also concerned by the lack of detail included in monthly reports relating to the neighbourhood plan.

Mr Northam said: “Of all people, I knew you would have a comment to make because you have challenged everything we have done with the neighbourhood plan.
“I apologise if this comes across as rude but there are not always updates relating to the neighbourhood plan every month because we seek clarification from HDC.”

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