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Mayor accuses councillor as Downham rows rumble on

The rows which have blighted a West Norfolk town’s affairs for months deepened this week when its civic leader attacked a fellow councillor for alleged misconduct.

The Mayor of Downham, Jenny Groom, apparently slammed Doug Lawson in a social media post, accusing him of acting unlawfully and being the “main instigator” of attacks on the town council.

But Mr Lawson dismissed the comments as “claptrap”, saying he had both consulted lawyers and submitted a conduct complaint against Mrs Groom.

Downham Market Town Hall. (45992042)
Downham Market Town Hall. (45992042)

The developments follow remarkable scenes at a council meeting in July where Mrs Groom called on Mr Lawson to end what she called his “horrific campaign”.

He refused, claiming he was acting lawfully and merely wanted the council to do so.

Mr Lawson then sought to call an extraordinary general meeting of the council – a request rejected by Mrs Groom, who said she considered it to have been unlawfully convened and in breach of the council’s standing orders.

A post on the town council’s Facebook page, which ended with the signature “Jenny Groom Mayor” acknowledged Mr Lawson does have the support of some councillors as well as residents.

But it restated the previously recorded view that the EGM request was unlawful, as well as making other allegations about Mr Lawson’s behaviour.

It added: “Let me make it clear, the Town Council works for all the Parish, not the minority who make all the fuss under the pretext that they are ensuring legality and democracy.”

The post also pointed out Mr Lawson’s role within decision making processes at full council and pleaded for residents to work with the authority towards a “bright future”.

It added: “The back biting, sniping, and inaccuracies that are being spread all over the town should stop, although I doubt they will.”

In response, Mr Lawson – in an email seen by the Lynn News – said he had lodged a formal conduct complaint against Mrs Groom, claiming the post represented an unauthorised use of council assets.

He said it had been “fascinating to read the claptrap” in the post, but also claimed it contained “malicious content”.

He added: “Because of the risk of damage, lawyers have been contacted, in case a “cease-and-desist” order needs to be issued.”

The town council is next scheduled to meet at the Jubilee Community Centre on Tuesday.

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