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'This cliquey authority needs sorting out' - Clenchwarton parish councillor

A West Norfolk parish council needs outside help on how to operate properly, according to one of its members.

Cllr Nigel Collison says he is fed up of the bickering and cliques in Clenchwarton Parish Council, which he claims are preventing it properly serving its electorate.

“It’s a very sorry state,” he said. “I would like to see someone independent come in and give us some guidance and put us right. Otherwise I think the council needs to be taken under the borough [council] again.”

Unrest in Clenchwarton (7806343)
Unrest in Clenchwarton (7806343)

Former chairman Cllr Steve Bearshaw agrees something must change and claims a wrangle over a new pavilion at the playing field is central to the problems.

“The football club is running the village,” he said.

Mr Collison, 51, wants to see a much more “honest, open and transparent” council and spoke out after a row over a personnel committee meeting last Friday.

He says he was warned that no one other than the six committee members should attend and if he showed up, police would be called.

“We (he and Mr Bearshaw) did attend, they didn’t call the police but they closed the meeting. It then proceeded to carry on (in private) for another two-and-a-half hours,” said Mr Collison.

Mr Bearshaw insists there is nothing in the council’s terms of reference limiting the committee to six members.

Mr Collison added: “A lot is going wrong with Clenchwarton Parish Council and I don’t know where it’s going to end up.

“It’s so split. People vote in a certain way just to keep others happy. Then when you question them why they voted that way they say ‘I didn’t really understand what it was that we were voting for’.

“It’s not how it should be. Village people vote for councillors to represent them.

“Sub-committees are making decisions but, in my opinion, they should discuss information and bring it to full council for rubber-stamping. That doesn’t happen.”

Mr Collison, who was playing field groundsman for 28 years before being dismissed for, he says, conduct towards clerk Jenny Rowe, has been on the council since May 2019. His late father, Trevor, was a member for 30 years.

Mr Bearshaw also joined the council last year and was chairman until this summer, being replaced by Cllr Matthew Stannard.

Mr Stannard declined to comment on the claims, saying he was taking a short break from council duties for personal reasons.

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