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‘Come and join us’ plea from parish council

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The chairperson of a parish council has made a desperate plea for villagers to join its shrinking number, warning it may have to dissolve if any more leave, writes Owen Sennitt, Local Democracy reporter.Chairperson Martin French posted the statement on Methwold Parish Council’s Facebook page, claiming West Norfolk Council may be forced to intervene unless more people join.It follows a period of turmoil in previous years which led the parish to be dubbed “the most unruly” in West Norfolk due to receiving the highest number of complaints.

Methwold needs more residents to come forward as parish councillors. Picture: Google street scene

In the post, he said: “Sadly after losing a number of parish councillors we are getting seriously close to being dissolved.“This would be an absolute disaster for the parish, for all of us, and a situation that would take a long time from which to recover. Please think about stepping up to be a parish councillor and supporting our community.”The council had a difficult period during 2022 and 2023, which resulted in lawyers being brought in because of frequent complaints from members of the public. It spent thousands of pounds on legal fees to prove no wrongdoing following allegations of misconduct relating to how it spent its money.One of its parish councillors also died in December last year. However, since the start of the year, there has been little sign of acrimony in the village.In February, Mr French urged villagers to put the “past behind us” and said the council had been “totally vindicated from all the challenges raised” by parishioners.Parish councils need to have a certain number of members to remain quorate, otherwise they are unable to make decisions. In his post, Mr French also rallied against a spate of “wanton vandalism” in the parish over recent months and urged people to come forward with information.Fences being damaged and glass bottles being smashed at the recreation ground are among the incidents he highlighted,A spokesperson for Norfolk police said local beat managers are “aware and are investigating”.Anyone with information about the damage should contact officers at: SNTDownhamMarket@Norfolk.police.uk

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