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Clenchwarton community centre meeting called off after access row

Talks over a controversial community centre proposal in a West Norfolk village have been called off today.

The decision comes after opponents of the project in Clenchwarton claimed alternative views on the issue were at risk of being excluded by holding the meeting face to face, rather than online.

Members of the Community Centre Project committee were due to meet on Thursday to discuss the organisation of a village-wide consultation on the scheme.

Vandalism in Clenchwarton. (39029289)
Vandalism in Clenchwarton. (39029289)

But previously published agenda papers said anyone attending the planned session at the Memorial Hall was "requested to adhere to Government Covid-19 guidelines”, without any reference to the meeting being streamed on a platform such as Zoom.

In response, members of the Save the Memorial Hall group, which opposes the current proposals, claimed that showed the committee was not really interested in consulting the community.

representatives of the Save the Memorial Hall group, which is opposed to the current proposals, say the lack of a stream would exclude some of its members and other residents who are still shielding as a result of the pandemic from the discussions.

It wants residents to be given the chance to put forward their own ideas, which could then be put to a public vote.

An open letter posted by the group via Facebook said: “That is democracy, that is opening up the conversation up to all voices across the community.

“For too long we’ve had the same voices monopolizing the debate, and having the ear of the council. That needs to change now.”

A statement posted on the Clenchwarton parish council's website today said: "At present we do not have the technology available to have a hybrid meeting which would allow all of the villagers to participate both those in isolation and those without the means to join a Zoom meeting.

"A new date for the meeting will be published when/if the meeting can be held so all parishioners can take part."

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