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Spalding councillor says meeting moaners should 'get a life'

A leading councillor says people are making ‘a mountain out of a molehill’ after a residents meeting with a planning officer prompted a debate on social distancing.

Debate was sparked after a South Holland District Council planning officer met with a group of residents in Spalding’s Wygate Park to discuss a proposed 5G mast.

Residents say social distancing was followed during Friday’s meeting. The district council had issued a statement on Friday which stated it was disappointed that a junior officer was placed in a potentially harmful position. It now says that is holding an internal review into the circumstances surrounding the meeting.

Concerned residents met with Coun Angela Newton (third from left) over plans for a 5G mast to be erected at the top of Claudette Avenue, Spalding (45135135)
Concerned residents met with Coun Angela Newton (third from left) over plans for a 5G mast to be erected at the top of Claudette Avenue, Spalding (45135135)

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, who is the district council’s cabinet member for environmental services, said it was inevitable that people would attend the meeting to discuss an emotional subject.

He criticised the fact that the meeting had prompted a debate about social distancing, adding: “Whoever started this debate, I’m afraid that they need to get a life and think about what they need to complain about. There are other issues to get concerned about. This isn’t one of them.

“If we were indoors and organised something in a local school then absolutely I would agree with them. It was an outdoor meeting which was exceptionally windy and I don’t think there was an issue at all.”

Coun Gambba-Jones said it was not the officer’s job, or his, to tell people to disperse.

He said: “This is people making a mountain out of a mole hill.”

One of the residents, who did not wish to be named, said the planning officer had been invited to speak to her and her neighbours over Three’s plans for a 20 metre monopole and wrap around cabinet in the Claudette Avenue area.

She said: “I want to put the record straight, we invited the officer to come along and see what our concerns were and he was very helpful and we were socially distanced. We had masks on.”

Coun Angela Newton said she had been invited to the meeting by a resident and did not know who else was invited.

A statement was issued by the district council on Friday.

It said: “We are disappointed that a junior member of staff was put in this difficult and potentially harmful position, despite the staff member wearing appropriate face covering at all times and trying their best to maintain social distancing.

“Following this incident we will revisit our protocols around meeting members of public and re-iterate responsibilities not only to employees and members of the council but the wider community.”

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