Villagers face a parish election after resignation of Dr Richard Hirson from Manea Parish Council

An on-going row over an otter fence has led to the resignation of a village councillor.

Dr Richard Hirson’s resignation last month means there is now a by-election to find a replacement on Manea Parish Council.

Dr Hirson’s resignation comes after the council’s impromptu decision to disband the Manea pit management committee, which he chaired.

The move was made at the council meeting on March 20 when Dr Hirson was away and came without any notification to him as committee chairman.

“I was on holiday, and when I returned I was told the committee had been disbanded. There was no warning that the council chairman was thinking about getting rid of the committee,” said Dr Hirson.


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He believes the move was to stop ongoing opposition to the council’s decision to install an otter fence around the pit.

But council chairman Councillor Steve Emery denies the decision was anything to do with the otter fence, but was to do with concerns about the way the committee was being run.

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He said members had raised concerns about committee meetings which had become very heated in recent months.

He said: “There is nothing sinister about the decision. I went to the meeting with the idea of suggesting the committee should go and the council agreed it is as simple as that.”

Cllr Emery also claimed the committee had outlived its purpose as most of the work to improve the village asset has been completed and the council and now continue to manage it going forward.

But Dr Hirson said: “It would have been common courtesy to tell me they were thinking of disbanding the committee. I believe it has been done to gag alternative views and I don’t like that.

“It seems to me the council is too intent on kow towing to the carp syndicate and are not taking the views of the village into account. There has been some horrendous vitriol on social media over the otter fence, and I don’t want to spend my retirment dealing with that kind of behaviour.”

Parish clerk Terry Jordan said the council has already agreed to the otter fence and are now awaiting approval from the Environment Agency so it can go ahead.

He said the council chairman brought up his concerns about the heated nature of some of the recent committee meetings under the pit management item of the agenda. It was discussed and the decision to disband it was made.

• The election to replace Dr Hirson will be on Thursday June 29. Anyone wishing to stand can deliver their nomination papers in person to the Returning Officer by hand during normal office hours from May 25 until 4pm June 2.

For more information contact the Elections Team by phone

01354 622207 or by email elections@fenland.gov.uk

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