Conduct chairman Sam Hoy to step aside - to hear complaint about her alleged ‘nasty and aggressive’ comment over fence issue

PUBLISHED: 15:10 30 October 2018

Cllr Sam Hoy (right) is before the conduct committee of Fenland Council - which she would normally chair - after being accused of allegedly using 'nasty and agressive' comments to a resident of Kestrel Drive, Wisbech, over this disputed fence. Picture: ARCHANT

Cllr Sam Hoy (right) is before the conduct committee of Fenland Council - which she would normally chair - after being accused of allegedly using 'nasty and agressive' comments to a resident of Kestrel Drive, Wisbech, over this disputed fence. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Fenland District Council conduct committee chairman Sam Hoy will find herself on the opposite side of the council chamber on Friday when colleagues hear a conduct complaint about her.

Her fellow councillors will be asked to “consider a complaint” against Cllr Hoy after a complainant said she described him as being “nasty and aggressive” in social media posts.

Cllr Hoy, who is also the leader of Wisbech Town Council, originally faced four complaints but these have been narrowed down to three following discussions by two independent members of the conduct committee.

But it leaves Cllr Hoy facing substantive claims that she has breached the councillors’ code of conduct.

Specifically it is alleged that she had “failed to treat others with respect in that she had referred to the complainant as nasty and aggressive on social media without having met him herself”.

The second complaint is that she allegedly disclosed information on social media in contravention of the Data Protection Act.

Thirdly it is alleged that both acts “could reasonably be regarded as bring her or Fenland District Council in disrepute”.

A fourth claim of alleged bullying and inciting others to do so was dismissed by the independent panel.

Much of the detail of the hearing has not been disclosed publicly, the council relying on part of the 1972 Local Government Act which allows for councils to deem certain issues to be held in private session.

Documents on the council’s website refer to details of the complaint and associated documents, her response, the complainant’s rejection of the response, and a contemporaneous note from pre-screening of the complaint together with newspaper articles viewed during this process.

Amy Brown, interim monitoring officer, says the conduct committee “is asked to consider the complaint and determine what next steps should be taken”.

Ms Brown says the committee can dismiss the complaint with no further action taken or commission an investigation that will go before a future meeting of the committee.

I understand the complaint arose after a complaint was made to Fenland Council about comments made by Cllr Hoy on Facebook after she was contacted to help to resolve a neighbours’ dispute in Kestrel Drive, Wisbech.

It involved a fence put up by Mark Atkins who claims it is the only effective remedy to stop his driveway from being blocked by visiting cars.

The fence provoked an outcry from neighbours who said it causes an obstruction, blocks out light and that Mr Atkins had no right to put it there.

At the time Cllr Hoy, who had been asked by affected residents to investigate their grievances, said: “I’m quite saddened by the situation.

“I know that the neighbours are very unhappy about it all. I think it’s really sad.

“I have spoken to the planning department at Fenland Council but because the site is owned by the developer Reason Homes there is nothing they can do. I just hope it gets resolved.”

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