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'Baldrick' jibes revealed in leaked emails hint at town council divisions

PUBLISHED: 06:30 29 June 2018 | UPDATED: 14:37 29 June 2018

The town council chambers in Broad Street, Bungay. Picture: Nick Butcher

The town council chambers in Broad Street, Bungay. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Councillors have come under fire after a leaked email chain revealed they had branded the town clerk as Blackadder comedy character Baldrick.

The emails, sent in February, show two members of Bungay Town Council criticising clerk Peter Morrow’s handling of a public consultation.

Mr Morrow has since resigned from his position, which he held for 32 years, and will leave the council on August 31.

In the email chain some members of the council express their disappointment with a leaflet designed to gauge public opinion which Mr Morrow had distributed to town residents.

Susan Collins, who has since become deputy mayor, suggests the leaflet “could be Baldrics (sic) cunning plan” – a reference to Baldrick; the servant and sidekick from comedy Blackadder.

She adds: “We still appear to be relying on the rubbished flyer as a reliable measure of public opinion to the point it will impact our budget decisions.”

Councillor Bob Prior adds: “I think Baldric (sic) ought to be compelled to attend on Saturday to hear the **** the council are going to take because of his ****** leaflet.”

While the emails were initially shared between a small number of councillors, they were then accidentally forwarded to the whole council.

All members of the town council, including Mr Morrow, saw the discussion and the insults.

Former Bungay mayor Terry Reeve called the comment “undeserved” and said the council appeared to be experiencing problems.

He said: “It’s very sad to hear. This shouldn’t be going on in any council.

“It is sad to hear derogatory comments about Peter because he has served the council in an exemplary way – those comments are undeserved.

“Clearly there are problems within the town council. As an outsider I know seven members have resigned in recent months and the council has lost a lot of experience with those members.”

In addition to Mr Morrow’s departure seven councillors; Judy Cloke, Sylvia Knights, Olly Barnes, Mary Matthews, Jane Paul, Gary Ryan and Guy Bradley, have left in the last year.

Mr Bradley has since rejoined following a recent by-election.

Mr Reeve added: “Clearly it’s sad for Bungay and the council. Bungay needs a vibrant and healthy town council to look after its interests.”

Didy Ward, a former town councillor and chairman of Bungay Events and Business Association (BEBA), said such actions “impact negatively” on the council.

She said: “I’m hoping a new town clerk will be appointed who will take control and won’t stand for the nonsense.

“I hope we can get a fully functioning town council as soon as possible; at the moment it’s very cliquey.”

However, current mayor Mick Lincoln has denied divisions exist within the council. He said: “You would expect a council at any time to have a range of views. In my opinion it isn’t divided.

“The council is looking for a new clerk and we are looking ahead to the future.

“As a council we are looking to do the very best for the town over the next year.”

Mr Lincoln also took the opportunity to thank the town clerk for his dedicated service to the council.

He said: “Speaking personally I would like to thank him for the support he has given me during my relatively short time on the council and I wish him well for the future.

“Although I have only known Peter for a short while, I am aware that he has given over 30 years’ service to the council and the town.

“In my experience he approaches his job in a thoughtful and conscientious way.

“Bungay has been fortunate to have him working for it for so long. Peter’s diligence and wealth of experience will be much missed.”

Mrs Collins and Mr Prior declined to comment when contacted.

Mr Morrow was also contacted and declined to comment.

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