Letchworth coat of arms row rumbles on

A FORMER council chairman has hit back at claims that minutes detailing the decision to buy a �10,000 coat of arms were “missing”.

Last week The Comet reported that Letchworth Garden City Council, which is expected to be abolished in the next four years after a campaign by Help Eliminate Letchworth Parish Council (HELP), were unable to locate the minutes taken when the town’s coat of arms was bought by the previous administration after they learnt it was now ready for collection.

But Philip Ross, who was chairman of the town council when the decision was made, has pointed out the minutes from September 2007 are available on HELP’s own website.

Another Letchworth GC resident also contacted The Comet echoing Mr Ross’ point, as well as disputing Letchworth Garden City Council chairman Valerie Mantle’s remark that she wasn’t surprised that information wasn’t available, by referring to minutes of a December 2009 meeting in which then chairman George Ritchie said that “staff produced the accounts in an exemplary fashion.”

Responding to the issue of finding details of council minutes on the subject, Cllr Ian Mantle, volunteer clerk for the council, said: “We didn’t realise it related to a coat of arms because it’s in with the mayoral chain which has a badge. That’s fine it that’s what it means by crest but to my mind a crest is only the top part of a coat of arms.”

Regarding the second claim, Mr Mantle added: “That was a response to a question from a member of the public about legal fees incurred by the previous administration, so it needs to be put into context.”