Angry Potton protestors disrupt budget meeting as police are called to calm frayed tempers

Potton protestors make thier voices heard at CBCs annual budget meeting

Potton protestors make thier voices heard at CBCs annual budget meeting - Credit: Archant

Angry Potton residents braved Storm Doris in an attempt to disrupt a Central Beds Council budget meeting on Thursday – as police were called to calm frayed tempers.

The group of more than 40 protestors – deeply concerned at the ‘over-development’ of their town – gathered at the public meeting in Chicksands to make their feelings known.

They began waving placards and chanting – with their protests beginning as soon as the early evening meeting started. They were then initially refused the opportunity to ask questions but the council backed down after noise from the protest drowned out their meeting. Council officials then called a 30 minute recess while CBC chief executive Richard Carr spoke with the protestors and agreed to their demands to meet with senior officers and portfolio holders.

A number of councillors walked out in disgust and the meeting came close to being abandoned.

The police were then called to assist security and force the protestors to leave against their will before the meeting eventually resumed.

People who enquired about CBCs webcast of the meeting which is usually available to view for most council meetings were told it would not be shared as there was a problem with sound.

Potton Independent councillor Adam Zerny told the Comet: “Potton residents have been hit with a series of completely inappropriate housing developments entirely out of proportion with the size of the town. I wholeheartedly support residents’ right to protest.”

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After the meeting restarted, the CBC budget was finally approved. The decision marks the end of an extensive period of budget planning and public consultation. Taxpayers will now be asked to pay a smaller increase in council tax than was originally proposed, in response to public feedback on the draft spending plans.

Councillor Richard Wenham, said: “We decided to reduce the general council tax increase as much as we could, setting it at 1.5 per cent” – meaning the adult social care precept and the 1.5 per cent increase in council tax will result in a total weekly increase of £1.19 for an average household in Band D.

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