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Garage sale organiser will not 'cost taxpayers money', council admits

PUBLISHED: 13:34 09 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:27 10 August 2019

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

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

Archant Norfolk 2018

A parish council has rejected claims that it was blaming the organiser of a popular garage sale for potentially costing taxpayers money after it cancelled its own event.

Eric Lund, chairman of Winterton-on-Sea Parish CouncilEric Lund, chairman of Winterton-on-Sea Parish Council

Winterton Parish Council said it did not intend to cause any offence to Sarah Neve, after it named her in a statement announcing the cancellation of its September garage sale.

The statement, released on Wednesday (August 7), said the organisation of Ms Neve's alternative sale, on August 17, meant the council's sale would not go ahead.

The village hall committee said: "Some residents have decided to organise their own sale in August, which seems to be gaining strong support, much due to Sarah Neve's promotional efforts, and as such the village hall committee feels that is likely that the official sale booked for September will become unviable."

But the committee added the official sale "generates significant funds towards the upkeep of the hall and the committee will need to make up the shortfall by other means, possibly a few pence on the council tax".

The statement, posted on social media, attracted criticism for naming the alternative sale's organiser.

One person commented: "To officially state there is a possibility of higher council tax due to this lady... Is a bit mean and could leave her subject to abuse.

"Totally unprofessional."

Another said: "I'm sorry but I think this post is designed to cause conflict and bad feeling in the village and is totally unnecessary."

Following the comments, the committee published a clarification, stating: "Sarah Neve will not be personally responsible for changes in council tax.

"The council did not intend to cause any offence by the statement that was made above, and clarifies that the statement wishing Sarah a successful event was genuinely meant."

Eric Lund, chairman of Winterton Parish Council, said: "It was possible to misconstrue we were blaming her for the possible increase in council tax.

"That wasn't the intention.

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"But our clerk has put in a clarification."

Ms Neve said: "I have no comment to make about their statement."

Earlier this year, before the local elections, the previous village hall committee had stood down.

The parish council said the time it took to form a new committee forced a postponement of the official garage sale from its traditional date in August to late September.

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