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Tempers flare in council seat row
AN Overton man swore at a local councillor after a parish council rejected his wife’s plea to fill a vacant seat.
Graham Gould lost his temper at Overton Parish Council’s May meeting and swore at borough councillor Ian Tilbury after he questioned Angela Gould’s suitability to sit on the council.
Mrs Gould had made a passionate speech about why she wanted to become a councillor and even compared herself to Cllr Tilbury, saying: “He always works hard to make sure that things get done for residents.”
But the flattery got her nowhere as Cllr Tilbury brought up a longrunning boundary dispute Mrs Gould was involved in regarding her home in Red Lion Lane, and claimed it had cost the council thousands of pounds trying to resolve it.
The row concerns the ownership of a strip of land at Mr and Mrs Gould’s home, which the council claims infringes the Edward Kersley playing field.
Following Mrs Gould’s speech, the press and public were asked to leave the meeting while councillors decided whether she should be co-opted to the council.
But it was the ultimate form of rejection when they voted against her becoming a councillor, despite her being the only candidate to apply. She has since submitted a formal complaint to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s monitoring officer, criticising Cllr Tilbury’s behaviour during the meeting and claiming that he launched a “tirade of abusive allegations”.
But Cllr Tilbury has hit back, pointing out that the only abusive language came from Mr Gould.
In her complaint Mrs Gould apologises for her husband’s language, saying: “He felt the need to defend my good name and in so doing was verbally abusive towards Cllr Tilbury. I am sorry for this outburst, over which I had no personal control. I would be happy to answer all of the other allegations made by Cllr Tilbury and to present accurate, evidenced facts but I did not feel that it was appropriate to do so in the context of my application to become a parish councillor.
“Cllr Tilbury did not treat me as an individual and spoke of my husband and me as if we were one person. I found this particularly insulting, because I certainly have a mind of my own.”
Cllr Tilbury believes that his comments were fair and said: “We have to judge whether a person is fit to be a parish councillor.”
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