Rogiet council apology over allotments

ROGIET Community Council has apologised to members of the public following a damning report by the Ombudsman.

Hazel Bennett, the chairman of the council, read out a statement at a meeting following the Ombudsman's report into the authority’s treatment of two of its allotment plot holders.

She said: “All other complaints have been followed according to the Ombudsman’s direction There is a bigger complaint which we are working through which will take time. I would like to say that councillors have themselves made complaints. The complaint of civil action follows libellous statements made of council members.”

Trevor Chappell and Pernell Tyrrell, of Green Close, Rogiet, were both plot holders at the council-run allotment on Station Road, until they were dismissed by the authority for an alleged breach of tenancy agreement. The Ombudsman’s report concluded that the community council's handling of the case was "very poor" and that they did not have adequate polices in place for complaints.

The report of Mr Chappell’s complaint stated: “I am not satisfied that the Community Council’s actions conform to the standards expected of a public body. I have seen no evidence that it actually did investigate your complaint.”

The report also criticised the council’s decision to prohibit Mr Chappell from speaking at a council meeting as he was not a resident of Rogiet. An action which Monmouthshire County Council deemed against the requirement of the Allotment Act and decided to re-instate Mr Chappell and Mr Tyrrell’s allotments after taking over the site from the community council in May this year.

As recommended by the Ombudsman, the council have issued letters of apology to the two complainants and have paid Mr Chappell the sum of £70. The report states that the council alleged that Mr Chappell had caused damage to the site driving your 4x4 vehicle" and that he had verbally abused a member of the council.

Mr Chappell, 73, retired, of Green Lane, Caldicot, said: “They said that I had verbal abused a councillor by calling him a liar – what I said was I don’t like liars."

“They never had any evidence that I caused the mess on the grass from my 4x4."

The council will discuss the case at a closed meeting tonight.

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