Villagers flex muscles over quarry plan

PUBLISHED: 12:06 18 May 2006 | UPDATED: 10:11 06 May 2010

PENSIONER power continually disrupted a parish council meeting on Tuesday night. Residents from Broom were protesting against plans for another quarry on the edge of the village and refused to keep quiet at the annual Southill Parish Council meeting in Br

PENSIONER power continually disrupted a parish council meeting on Tuesday night.

Residents from Broom were protesting against plans for another quarry on the edge of the village and refused to keep quiet at the annual Southill Parish Council meeting in Broom village hall.

Council chairman Mark Egar even threatened to eject one member of the public, resident Issie Rondel, for continually hurling questions at him and not following council protocol.

Mr Rondel said: "I spent half a million pounds on my house a year ago and searches by my solicitor did not show another quarry being planned. As chairman of the parish council you should have kept residents informed."

Cllr Egar retorted saying: "If I was you I would take this up with your solicitor."

But Mr Rodnel hit back saying: "You are treating us like a dictator. You have totally failed the community and should immediately resign from the chair."

The pair continued to exchange words and when Cllr Egar was re-elected as council chairman, which caused grumbles from residents, and Mr Rondel threw more verbal bouncers at the top table, Cllr Egar was forced to respond angrily: "I will ask you to leave if you keep on interrupting the meeting."

Mr Rondel snapped back: "It is you who should leave."

Cllr Egar responded: "You are being very disruptive. You are crossing the line so please be polite."

Over 40 residents had attended the meeting wanting to air their views to the parish council about proposals by Tarmac to apply for planning permission to open a quarry to the south of Broom.

The land is owned by Whitbread estates where Cllr Egar is the estates manager and twice during Tuesday night's meeting he left the hall when the plan was discussed on the agenda because of a conflict of interest.

But there was a genuine belief among councillors that the council needed to communicate better to villagers with Cllr Brent Fielder saying: "The parish council should object as one body and to anyone else involved."

Further meetings will be held soon to discuss the thorny issue of the quarry with Tarmac said to be keen to send in their planning application for the 280-acre site in the autumn.

District councillor Roger Baines said after the meeting: "The parish council seems to be run on 18th century lines. It is worthy of a novel by Dickens or Trollope.

"It is time democracy was brought to the pretty parish of Southill and that one man living in a very big house stopped pulling the strings.

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