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Hertfordshire Mercury | Posted: June 25, 2013

Councillors face rebuke over bad behaviour

SERVING and former parish councillors from Nazeing have been censured over “offensive” behaviour by a council watchdog.

Cllr Ed Culling (Ind, Riverside) and former councillor Janice May faced Epping Forest’s joint standards committee over remarks made during a stormy meeting in September last year.

Police were called to intervene in a confrontation between 50 members of the public and the parish council over the district local plan consultation, which outlines where new housing developments will be located.

The committee found that Mrs May and Cllr Culling both “supported offensive comments made about members of the parish council by members of the public” during the meeting.

Mrs May was also found to have “made rude remarks to a fellow parish councillor” and “used threatening words/behaviour towards a fellow parish councillor”.

Cllr Culling was also censured for actions earlier in the month.

The standards committee reported: “At the Nazeing Festival on 8 September 2012, Cllr Culling gave out misleading information relating to the local plan process leading to residents becoming angry and upset; and that Cllr Culling swore at and showed a lack of respect to Robert Halfon MP, and that his conduct breached the members’ code of conduct.”

The complaints arose following correspondence received from parish councillors Chris Shorter (Ind, Nazeingbury), Gloria Skipper (Ind, Riverside) and Epping Forest district councillor Yolanda Knight (Con, Lower Nazeing).

The standards committee found: “That Councillor Edward Culling conducted himself in a manner which falls below the standard expected of a person in public office.

“Councillors are expected to consider their actions and words, and how they may be perceived by their colleagues and members of the public.

“The joint standards committee hereby censures Councillor Culling on these grounds.

This censure in no way reflects on Nazeing Parish Council.”
Mrs May, who stood down from the parish council earlier this year, received the same rebuke.

Its findings must formally be reported to Nazeing Parish Council and Epping Forest District Council, and displayed on their notice boards and websites.

Nazeing Parish Council is next due to meet later this evening.