Eight new councillors elected after Rowlands Castle rift

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AN ENTIRELY new set of parish councillors has been voted in at Rowlands Castle.

The eight newcomers were elected after all six serving parish councillors, including former chairman David Harvey and his wife Marge, decided not to stand in the election.

As previously reported in The News, the parish council has been embroiled in a bitter row that has seen it move out of its long-standing home at the parish hall and into an office above the village’s hardware shop.

Mr Harvey told the annual parish meeting the reason behind the move was ‘a three-year campaign of harassment against the parish clerk.’

He told the meeting that Alan Craggs, the manager of the parish hall in Links Lane, had sent her ‘an inappropriate email’ three years ago and was responsible for ‘continual harassment ever since.’

Mr Craggs, who is one of the newly-elected councillors, has strongly denied any wrongdoing. He said: ‘I am looking forward to working with the new and united council for the good of the village.

‘I have a long history of achieving good things in the village.’

He said he had complained to East Hampshire District Council about Mr Harvey’s statements at the meeting and that he had taken legal advice.

A statement from the parish hall management committee, of which Mr Craggs is chairman, said it had unanimously supported a vote of total confidence in him and had dismissed the allegations against him.

Meanwhile, the village’s lollipop lady, Kate Molloy, 76, becomes a parish councillor after receiving the most votes with 715.

The grandmother-of-three, of Castle Road, helps schoolchildren from St John’s Primary School get across the road safely.

She said: ‘I am a village person and this is my village. There’s not many people who can say they were born here and their father and grandfather were born here.’

She added: ‘There’s a lot of work to be done.

‘Let’s hope we can amalgamate parish hall and parish council, together as it should be for the sake of the village. We want to get the parish council back on an even keel.’

She said no decisions will be taken until the new parish councillors hold their first meeting.