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Village anger at no nukes 'hijackers'

PUBLISHED: 05:33 28 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:13 24 February 2010

ANGRY villagers say they are fed up with their parish meetings being "hijacked" by anti-nuclear campaigners.

At a heated Dunwich parish meeting on Friday , villagers voted to refer a resolution proposed by Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, to its Dunwich Sizewell Nuclear Power Stations Committee, which is due to meet in the coming weeks.

ANGRY villagers say they are fed up with their parish meetings being "hijacked" by anti-nuclear campaigners.

At a heated Dunwich parish meeting on Friday , villagers voted to refer a resolution proposed by Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, to its Dunwich Sizewell Nuclear Power Stations Committee, which is due to meet in the coming weeks.

The proposed resolution demanded that the Government should shut down the Sizewell A and B nuclear power stations in the light of warnings about possible terrorist attacks.

But parish meeting chairman, Dr Simon Strickland, proposed the resolution should be referred to the committee dealing with Sizewell matters.

After the meeting Dr Strickland declined to comment, but a number of villagers expressed frustration that the business of the parish was being monopolized by the Sizewell issue at the expense of the other things.

Parish meeting vice chairman Michael Clark said: "A large number of people who are electors resent the way in which Mr Barnett places items on the agenda then speaks to them and tends to monopolize the business of the meeting."

Villager Peter Bayman, who seconded Dr Strickland's resolution, said: "I suggested that the parish consumes a significant amount of time debating Sizewell from meeting to meeting and it's a matter that really is a national matter rather than a parish matter.

"I actually made the point that there are more significant issues as far as the parish is concerned like, for example, the amount of water lying on the roads during the winter."

He felt the parish meeting was an inappropriate forum for a debate about the nuclear power plants.

"There is certainly a feeling in the village that the meeting has been hijacked by the whole subject of Sizewell," he said. "Some residents find that quite unnecessary in a meeting which is really to discuss parish matters."

He added: "As a resident here I am neither passionately pro nuclear or passionately anti nuclear. What I feel passionately about is the village should be discussing village matters which they can take action and have an effect on rather than get involved in national issues."

Michael Palmer, honorary secretary of the parish meeting, said: "The parishioners of the village – or lots of them – are getting very tired of our meetings which are spoilt by Sizewell."

In the four years he had been in the village, the meetings were overtaken by the issue and it was "completely wrong", he said.

"We don't want our parish meeting dictated to by the anti Sizewell campaign and that's exactly what's going on," he said. "I'm fed up with it, and I know many of my friends are fed up with it."

Charles Barnett defended his decision to submit the proposed resolution.

"I think that we all should think globally and act locally," he said.

He felt the proper forum for their concerns was the parish meeting, and described the successful motion to refer his proposed resolution to the committee as a "delaying tactic".

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