Sign for service causes problem

A ROW broke out at a Belper Town Council meeting over a sign for a Remembrance Sunday service being removed.

Mayor Alan Cox and visitor Peter Davies argued after Mr Davies asked questions during a public speaking section of the meeting.

Mr Davies, 68, had gone along to the meeting at St John’s Chapel, The Butts, on Tuesday December 13.

He told The News afterwards he was there to seek answers on why a poster he put up in Belper’s Memorial Gardens advertising his Remembrance Day service at Beaurepaire Garden was taken down.

But when he started asking questions during his five-minute slot at the meeting, he was told that he was not allowed to do so by Cllr Cox.

Council regulations state that the public can only talk about items on the meeting’s agenda, and that the speaking slot is not there to question or criticise the council.

Mr Davies said: “To me that is ridiculous. I said I wanted to know who took it down and why they did it.”

He said the Mayor told him he could not ask questions. Mr Davies said he hit back by saying: “This is my council and you represent me.”

Cllr Cox admits stopping the proceedings, walking out for a short while before going back inside and to talk with Mr Davies again.

Mr Davies said: “I told him to shut up.”

Cllr Cox said after the meeting: “He was supposed to be addressing us on our Remembrance Day service. But he talked about something else. I let him finish and then told the council we could not answer. Then he started arguing.

“I have never seen anyone argue with the Mayor.

“I was trying to get on with business. Had he not been obstructing the council business I wouldn’t have shouted.”

He continued: “We cannot have people going round town putting signs up where they want.

“One phone call and perhaps he could have put it up.”

Cllr Cox said Mr Davies’ sign was removed by a council officer because it has been put up without permission.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “When Mr Davies’ statement got personal the Mayor was quite within his rights to ask him to be quiet.

“However, the council would like to express regret regarding the incident and does apologise for any distress caused to everyone present at that meeting.”