Councillor quits over colleague row

A PARISH councillor has resigned after more than 35 years after a dispute with the local Lord of the Manor.

John Howard

A PARISH councillor has resigned after more than 35 years after a dispute with the local Lord of the Manor.

John Prigg, 81, from Haughley, near Stowmarket, said he was dismayed he had been reported to the Standards Board for England for allegedly insulting the village's Lord of the Manor and fellow parish councillor Jeffrey Bowden.

Mr Prigg, who served for 13 years as chairman, said during his years on the council he had never before had a single complaint on any matter ever lodged against him.

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He said: “In fact a one time chairman of the Suffolk Association of Local Councils complimented me, in his own words, as 'having the most professionally-run parish council in the county', although that was probably a slight exaggeration.”

Mr Prigg has now resigned, saying he took exception to a colleague putting a complaint into the Standards Board for England about his conduct, which was not found to be at fault in any way.

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He said: “The board found no evidence to support the allegation.

“I shall continue to work for the community. But I feel I no longer wish to serve alongside a person for whom I have no respect whatsoever.”

The complaints arose from discussion about the long-running saga over the village green, in which Mr Prigg opposed steps taken by his council.

The Palmer family, who run the bakery in the village, have been in dispute with parish councillors over access to the business they run on the land.

The authority wanted to limit the size of lorries which drive over the green to deliver to the bakery, and there were concerned the green could be damaged. But more than 7,000 people signed a petition backing the shop, with residents arguing that their village as not a museum and they wanted thriving businesses.

It was alleged that during a meeting in February, Mr Prigg verbally abused Mr Bowden, to have said he was ashamed of his colleagues, and to have damaged the reputation of the parish council, but the Standards Board found no evidence of any breach of the code of conduct expected of councillors.

Mr Bowden said last night that he also had no respect for Mr Prigg, but said it was not unheard of for councillors to disagree.

He said: “I am sure there are times when councillors do not get on at other authorities, it does not stop them serving.

“It would be hopeless if everyone agreed with each other, you'd have no debate. His heart is in the right place, there is no doubt about that, and he has done many, many years.

“But perhaps at 81 he does not need the aggravation of being on the council anyway.”

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