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Swaffham councillor cleared after resident appealed against her

A Swaffham town councillor has been “completely exonerated” after a resident lodged a formal appeal against her.

Conservative Shirley Matthews had gone against the council’s stance by supporting an Abel Homes development for 160 homes and a 64-bed care home off Brandon Road in June. She had written a personal letter saying the proposal would be beneficial for the town.

Speaking at a town council meeting on Wednesday, Mrs Matthews read out a statement saying resident Stan Sole had appealed against a Breckland decision to initially clear her of any wrongdoing.

Shirley Matthews pictured during her time as mayor of Swaffham
Shirley Matthews pictured during her time as mayor of Swaffham

Mrs Matthews confirmed she had been “completely exonerated yet again” by Breckland this week.

The original conflict of interest had been questioned during a planning committee meeting in which chairman Les Scott proposed sending a letter of complaint to Breckland, which was passed.

On Wednesday, Mrs Matthews said: “I was disappointed that the longer serving members knew no better than to join forces with the new councillors who had little knowledge of procedures.

“Maybe I should should thank Mr Sole’s condemnation as a back-handed compliment that Breckland would take this [letter] so seriously.”

In response Residents4Residents councillor Graham Edwards said: “Most people found it inexcusable. Shirley did not have to interfere. The normal rules were null and void.”

Mrs Matthews told him not to interfere.

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