Furious residents hit back at ‘shambolic’ council meeting as anger over legal bill mounts

Phil Yerby
Phil Yerby

A district councillor has called for an investigation into the running of Aston Clinton Parish Council after the authority was accused of being ‘shambolic’ in a heated meeting last night.

Aylesbury Vale District Councillor Phil Yerby, who represents Aston Clinton, said many villagers had been in touch with him with their concerns over the running of the parish council, leading him to request an official investigation.

Feelings are still running high over the land row saga in which the council pursued a legal case against Ed and Linda Piele to claim ownership of a stream on their land at Old Rectory Farm.

Upwards of £40,000 of taxpayers’ money was spent on the case, which was eventually dropped. The council has to pay the Peiles compensation for damage to their property and the distress caused – leaving householders furious at having to stump up an average tax rise of £1.40 a month to foot the bill.

Mr Yerby said: “AVDC needs to step in a facilitate some kind of solution to this. The parish council has made a mistake and it needs a mediator to help.

“I think those who have made the mistake should consider their position, but it is a very complex situation. There are huge allegations flying around, but I have sent an official letter formally requesting AVDC to investigate this. They are the ones with the power.”

He said AVDC have confirmed to him they would be looking into the council.

More than 25 village residents turned out to the extraordinary meeting yesterday evening.

Their mood was not helped by just three councillors bothering to turn up at the start of the meeting (one other did appear later).

In the 20-minute meeting, one of the agenda items that was discussed was a letter containing sensitive information regarding the Peile case being sent to Bucks County Council on advice from solicitors.

Councillors refused to disclose the details to the public, leading to uproar in the chamber.

One angry resident asked: “The public are entitled to this information! Why can’t we see the letter? Is this going to cost us another £42,000?”

Another blasted: “Is it a secret? There is no transparency between you and your villagers. This has been an utterly shambolic meeting.”

The only business the council agreed was to change a standing order allowing committee members to elect their own chairman. Despite the absence of the full council, the motion could still be passed as the minimum number required to make the decision is just three.

The next parish council meeting is on Wednesday, August 6 where there is expected to be an equally strong public attendance.