Closed debate of freedom nomination for King’s Lynn football legend

Sports awards night at Kings Lynn Corn Exchange
Lifetime Achievement Award Mick Wright
Sports awards night at Kings Lynn Corn Exchange Lifetime Achievement Award Mick Wright
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Council chiefs will consider calls for a Lynn football legend to be granted the freedom of West Norfolk today – but the public won’t be allowed to hear the debate.

Officials say the discussion will take place in closed session to avoid the prospect of “embarassing” Mick Wright, who made 1,152 appearances as a player for King’s Lynn Football Club.

But supporters of the nomination have questioned the justification for the decision, claiming senior figures are not reflecting the views of the public.

Last month, West Norfolk Council bosses confirmed Mr Wright’s nomination for the civic honour would be discussed at today’s cabinet meeting.

They also apologised after admitting the nomination had not been handled properly.

That followed the submission of a formal complaint against the authority to the Local Government Ombudsman.

But agenda papers now show the issue is intended to be debated in closed session, without members of the public or media present.

A council spokesman said: “The report on the application and subsequent discussion will obviously be centred around Mr Wright’s suitability and qualifications to receive this civic honour, and will disclose personal information about him.

“The council wishes to avoid any risk that Mr Wright be embarrassed in any way and has taken the decision that this discussion should not be held in public.”

But, in recent years, cabinet discussions of other nominations to receive the freedom of the borough have been held in open session, with residents and journalists being able to hear what was said.

Former King’s Lynn player and manager Keith Rudd, who played alongside Mr Wright for the original King’s Lynn club, has written to the council’s leadership, seeking an explanation for what he described as the “secrecy” surrounding the debate.

He said: “These people are supposed to represent us but just dictate to their own wants.”