IN-fighting in a bad-tempered town council spilled over as concerns were raised about the ability of feuding councillors to serve the people they represent.
A monthly meeting of Buckley Town Council reached boiling point as debates descended into a series of slanging matches.
The behaviour of some members was branded “disgraceful” while one said the council was becoming “bitter and twisted”.
Among the rows were disputes about councillors talking between themselves during the meeting and even a spat over which members should and should not have been in a presentation photograph published in the Leader.
Spats between councillors have continued to blight business at recent meetings, with some referring to ‘nasty vendettas which are sending the council “downhill”.
And the general lack of respect shown to councillors speaking at recent meetings sparked rows during Tuesday night’s showdown at the town hall.
Despite pleas from the new town mayor, Cllr Ian Peters, to avoid further fallouts, some councillors continued to make their feelings known.
They were likened to squabbling school children by fellow members, while others claimed to have become disillusioned with their roles as a result of the rows.
Cllr Carol Ellis said: “This council is becoming bitter and twisted and there is a bad atmosphere.
“I have concerns about the way this council operates.
“We are not representing the people of Buckley here. It is a disgrace.”
Trouble flared as exception was taken over the manner in which former mayor Cllr Nicola Ditchburn asked members to refrain from having their own “side-meetings” during agenda items and speaking between issues.
New town mayor Cllr Peters appealed for calm as the meeting ignited.
But further back-biting followed when the subject of a £600 donation made by the council to Buckley Football Club came up as councillors clashed over who should and should not have been in a presentation photograph published in these pages.
Cllr Andy Williams said the degree of infighting had made him disillusioned with the way in which council business was conducted.
He said: “There is a lot of nastiness going on and vendettas between people.
“It isn’t why I joined the council and we are not getting anything accomplished because of it.”
Cllr John Thornton said: “This used to be a friendly council, but things have changed for the worse.
And Cllr Ron Hampson backed his claims adding: “There is a lot of bitterness in this council and it is going downhill fast.”
Cllr Dennis Hutchinson, who was the subject of unsubstantiated bullying claims at a meeting last year in another fall-out, likened the council’s behaviour to that of schoolchildren and said: “We should be here for Buckley but we are setting the wrong type of precedent.”
He and Cllr Ditchburn locked horns in March 2013 after she had labelled him “a bully”.
He asked her to withdraw her comments but she replied: “I will not back down to you.”
Last November, then mayor, Cllr Ditchburn marched out of a town council meeting after a row with Cllr Hutchinson over comments made about fireworks on Bonfire Night.