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'The village is being torn apart' - Three councillors resign amid 'tensions' over village hall

PUBLISHED: 11:10 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:16 06 September 2019

Eric Lund, former chairman of Winterton-on-Sea Parish Council.

Eric Lund, former chairman of Winterton-on-Sea Parish Council.

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A Norfolk community is being "torn apart" by a conflict that has seen three parish council resignations over alleged tensions with former village hall committee members.

Winterton Parish Council was accused of blaming a garage sale organiser for a possible tax increase. Picture: ANTONY KELLYWinterton Parish Council was accused of blaming a garage sale organiser for a possible tax increase. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The coastal village of Winterton is normally known for its tranquil sand dunes and happy holidays. But the peace has been shattered by the departures, including the chairman's, which were reported at a parish council meeting on Monday (September 2).

Eric Lund, John Allen and Roger Jarvis resigned after a previous meeting, on August 22, during which, according to the minutes, a member of the public said the village was "being torn apart, resulting in stress, hurt and anger".

The comment referred to an announcement made last month by the village hall committee, cancelling its annual garage sale, which was criticised for appearing to blame a local woman, Sarah Neve, for any potential council tax increase.

Ms Neve was organising an alternative garage sale.

The parish council later issued a clarification, stating it had not intended any offence, but the matter flared up again on August 20 at a meeting of the committee, when Ms Neve asked the chairman, Eric Lund, for an apology.

He declined.

The matter was brought up again two nights later at a parish council meeting, with a member of the public saying the chairman had been "rude" to Ms Neve.

Mr Lund said an apology was not required and noted a clarification statement had been issued.

But he did not attend the following meeting, on September 2, and his resignation, as well as Mr Allen's and Mr Jarvis's, were announced.

Nigel Coe, a member of the council, said there had been "some tensions" between the parish council and former members of the village hall committee who had stood down in May.

Mr Lund said: "I enjoyed the three years at the parish council and what I was doing there. I've been asked by people to reconsider, which I'm still doing."

A spokesperson for the council said: "We want to put the past few months behind us and go forward positively for the community."

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The former chairperson of the village hall committee has been approached for comment.

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