Wed, 25 Oct 2017
A BAYDON Parish Council meeting had to be suspended, after angry villagers refused to stop shouting.
The extraordinary scenes were triggered by a long-running dispute over traffic-calming proposals.
Previous meetings have ended in chaos, with councillors being shouted down, threatened with legal action and even having to duck missiles of screwed-up paper.
At issue was the parish council scheme, which is supported by Wiltshire Council’s highways department and largely funded by the Community Area Transport Group.
A ‘buildout’ near the Ermin Close entrance has been agreed, which means that westbound traffic would need to give way.
Another single buildout, planned near the flashing 30mph sign at the western end of Ermin Street, would mean that eastbound cars must give way.
The parish council has been trying to tackle the issue of speeding in the village since the 1960s, but the current scheme has brought howls of protest from some villagers whose homes are near the proposed chicanes.
During a rowdy parish meeting last October, according to the minutes, one member of the public “screwed up a piece of paper and threw it at councillors, asked where they lived and stormed out of the meeting”.
At the most recent parish council meeting on Monday, Amy Bryan – who was chairing – warned members of the public to conduct themselves in a “courteous and civil manner” or she would suspend the proceedings.
But within minutes, the meeting degenerated into a free-for-all, with villagers shouting at councillors that they were an “absolute disgrace”.
One local resident, Jane Archer, told councillors they did not represent public opinion and added: “The whole process is flawed.
“It’s not been minuted, so it’s illegal.”
When this point was disputed, the shouting from the public intensified, with cries of “this isn’t good enough, you’ve failed us” and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
After a final warning was ignored, Mrs Bryan announced she had no choice but to suspend the meeting.
The public anger is unlikely to change anything, however. The parish council has already voted to go ahead with both schemes.
•n WHAT do you think of the traffic-calming proposals? Are the protesters justified or are they are vocal minority? Have your say – contact reporter John Garvey via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on (01635) 564528.