Parish councillor makes threat to Suffolk Coastal planning committee member with gun gesture during debate

A CGI view of the proposed homes as seen across the meadow from the riverside end of the site at Mel

A CGI view of the proposed homes as seen across the meadow from the riverside end of the site at Melton Hill. Picture: JTP ARCHITECTS - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk planning committee debating controversial plans for homes in Melton was left stunned after a parish councillor on the public bench threatened a committee member by imitating a gun with his hand.

Debbie McCallum who was chairing the meeting said it was "offensive". Picture: ASHLEY PICKERING

Debbie McCallum who was chairing the meeting said it was "offensive". Picture: ASHLEY PICKERING

Suffolk Coastal District Council’s planning committee was this morning discussing the plans to build 100 homes on the former council office site in Melton when the gesture was made.

Melton Parish Council chairman Alan Porter had already spoken during the public representations outlining his objection to the scheme.

But the committee was left shocked when he formed his hand into a gun and pointed it at Felixstowe south councillor and planning committee member Andy Smith, as Mr Smith expressed his support for the scheme.

Committee chairman Debbie McCallum shut the action down immediately, describing it as “offensive” and “inappropriate” which had no place in the council chamber.


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In a statement afterwards she said: “Members of the planning committee are there to debate and put their views forward so democratic debate can take place.

“To have someone point their hand at Andy in the form of a gun is not appropriate.

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“Councillor Smith has broad shoulders and has many years of dealing with applications, but it could have been a new member of the committee.

“Bad behaviour like this has no place in the committee and offended some of our members.

“Andy wished to take no further action and we have respected his wishes.”

Mr Porter said that it was “nothing personal” but did not apologise for the gesture,

He said: “Nothing was meant by it” and added: “It was an act of difference and disappointment”.

The gesture was formally noted in the minutes of the meeting.

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