Alresford council critic branded 'vexatious'

Robin Atkins

Robin Atkins

First published in News Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

AN “unacceptable” letter has prompted Alresford town councillor to brand an allegedly desk-thumping resident “vexatious.”

It means that town council staff will not have speak to or correspond with Robin Atkins, the former chairman.

The town council heard that Mr Atkins had sent an email to council clerk Stevie Kavanagh, which chairman Lisa Griffiths described as “unacceptable.”

Mr Atkins, of Lindley Gardens, has been a longstanding critic of the council over several issues, most recently its handling of the games machine issue at Alresford Recreation Centre and the sacking of bar manager Heather Graham.

Cllr Margot Power said: “It’s a great shame; residents should be able to challenge what we do, but if the questions are couched in offensive language...we need to protect staff from offensive communications.”

Ms Kavanagh responded: “It was not a question, it was just an accusation and it was offensive.”

She added: “He asks the same question, couched in different terms, the modus operandi of the vexatious complainant. Then add to that the offensiveness of it and the regularity of it. It is harassment in many ways and time-consuming. I have asked for this because I need to get on (with work).”

Some councillors expressed reservations. Cllr Ann Stow said: “Although he (Mr Atkins) has an unfortunate turn of phrase, by and large he tends to have something to back his comments. I’m really concerned about taking action against this person.”

Cllr Roy Gentry said: “What we are talking about is the amount of time and distress he causes to members of staff; emails, telephone calls and calling into the office and thumping on the desk.”

The council agreed that Mr Atkins should be deemed a “vexatious complainant” and for councillor and staff not to respond to his emails, phone calls or written or verbal communication. But it will be reviewed at every council meeting.

Mr Atkins said recently he has no problems about being branded vexatious and would still raise concerns about the council.

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