Councillor quiet over quit claims

PUBLISHED: 03:09 07 December 2006 | UPDATED: 10:20 24 May 2010

A SENIOR councillor has refused to respond to rumours that he will resign from a top position if plans to build a controversial flood defence wall are not approved. North Somerset Council has been swamped by more than 340 letters objecting to the proposal

A SENIOR councillor has refused to respond to rumours that he will resign from a top position if plans to build a controversial flood defence wall are not approved.North Somerset Council has been swamped by more than 340 letters objecting to the proposal and some councillors are claiming that John Crockford-Hawley, executive member for strategic planning and transport, has said he will resign if the plans are thrown out.When contacted by the Weston & Somerset Mercury, Cllr Crockford-Hawley said: "I never respond to rumours."But he hit out at protesters who he said have been rallying residents to send in letters of objection.Cllr Crockford-Hawley said: "A lot of the letters are written by one person, which have simply been handed around all and sundry and sent. Some have been sent by people living in South Wales and Yeovil. We need to look at them to see what justification we can put on them."This is an organised campaign by town councillor David Evans and his chums and, of course, the Weston & Somerset Mercury, which is not taking a particularly constructive view point."Cllr Evans said: "This is just the sort of thing I would expect Cllr Crockford-Hawley to say. He thinks nobody in Weston, Yeovil, Wales, or anywhere else, is allowed to disagree with his proposals or plans because he is the only person who knows what's best for Weston. But if he would take the opportunity to attend public meetings then he would hear these letters are coming from a wide variety of people, some of whom are, possibly, not in the position to be able to write a letter of objection. I admit assistance was given to them."Last week the council issued a leaflet detailing the sea wall proposals to try to quash any rumours and state the facts, but the glossy publication has only fuelled more criticism.One Mercury reader, Kevin Williams, of Collum Lane in Kewstoke, is demanding to know where the money came from to produce it and why the council can produce a document advertising its own planning application. He said: "This document is not factual and it's biased towards the proposal. It does not show the good and bad points. It's going to obstruct the view when it gets round to Knightstone. It's not representative of what the council is trying to do, it's tantamount to propaganda and somebody in the council is looking to fulfil their own agenda. "I think we need answers from the council to say where this information came from and who paid for it.

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