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High Sheriff of Norfolk comments on ongoing Downham Market council row




High Sheriff for Norfolk Michael Gurney came to Downham today to open a "Happy to Chat" bench alongside the Mayor Jenny Groom and former Mayor Becky Hayes.

Mr Gurney, who is also Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk was asked for comment on the ongoing row between members of the council and the market traders.

The High Sheriff was seen earlier this month, in the market square, following the removal of the trade licences for Betty Moyses and Belinda Leach.

The High Sheriff came to Downham to open the 'Happy to Chat' Bench alongside Councillor Becky Hayes and Mayor Jenny Groom Credit Steven Hewitt (51706227)
The High Sheriff came to Downham to open the 'Happy to Chat' Bench alongside Councillor Becky Hayes and Mayor Jenny Groom Credit Steven Hewitt (51706227)

The High Sheriff was seen earlier this month, in the market square, following the removal of the trade licences for Betty Moyses and Belinda Leach.

Some residents were under the impression Mr Gurney was "on the side" of the Mayor.

Micheal Gurney shares his diplomatic approach to the row Credit Steven Hewitt (51706230)
Micheal Gurney shares his diplomatic approach to the row Credit Steven Hewitt (51706230)

One said: "He's here for the mayor and her cronies, on their side, not for the people."

He was asked what possible resolution could be has between the two parties going forward.

He said: "Talk. That is the best way to resolve things, I am a-political and take no sides in this, but I would encourage both parties to speak with one another.

"There's no such thing as too much water under the bridge, this needs to worked out for the good of the town.

"When I was serving in Ireland we had young children throwing glass in our faces, if that can be resolved then so can this."

The council recently posted a letter from solicitor on it's website, after they sought legal advice.

At the rally in the town centre last week citizens and councillors alike branded the council "draconian" for terminating the licences of the two traders without a full council meeting.

The solicitor, Paul Sheerin said: "As a matter of natural justice I would consider it undesirable for the full council to be responsible for making decisions about the termination of licences.

"Ultimate power lies within the full council. Clearly it has never been the case that all decisions relating to the market are decided by the full council. That would be utterly ridiculous and unworkable."



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