Councillor speaks out after social media gag row

Cllr Shaun Cunningham
Cllr Shaun Cunningham

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A COUNCILLOR has said he ‘won’t be gagged’ after a row over a social media post with the local authority.

Portchester East Councillor Shaun Cunningham has been left angry after Fareham Borough Council called him in for interview over a social media post from earlier this year.

Wicor Path

Wicor Path

The Lib Dem councillor was vocal about the controversial Wicor Path site in which developers had been clearing despite not having planning permission granted for the 49-home proposal.

An extract of his post read: ‘Developers have spent the last three weeks completely clearing the site at Wicor Path.

‘The official word is, no decision has been made.

‘Someone is having a laugh.....is it no wonder residents have lost all faith in the planning process.’

Cllr Cunningham said during his interview regarding the post he was told he ‘had brought the council into disrepute’.

Speaking to The News, he said: ‘I stand by everything I said and I will not back down.

‘I was elected by the residents to represent them, I was not elected to represent Fareham Borough Council.

‘I will not be intimidated and I will carry on speaking out on behalf of my residents in Portchester East.’

The Wicor Path site which had an application for 49 homes on it, made for a long-running dispute between residents and the owners of the site, the Churchlands Trust and Danisco.

In 2016, locals used their cars to block wood chopping machinery gaining access to the site and described the clearing of the former allotment site as ‘wildlife vandalism’.

Residents were angry at the council for not stepping in at the time and although the planning application was refused in March, many felt it was too late for the wildlife.

Cllr Cunningham added: ‘I don’t believe anyone’s opinion of the council has changed since my Facebook post.

‘I was asked to reflect on my conduct but I don’t think there is anything to reflect on and I will not be gagged by Fareham Borough Council.’

The council were unable to comment at the time of publication.

Tory council leader, Councillor Sean Woodward said: ‘There is a number of things the Monitoring Officer can do and if it is minor then that would stay between the councillor and the officer.

‘If Councillor Cunningham has made comments about the council then that would be regrettable.’