Ottery Town Council to meet with League of Friends Chair
Thursday, 07 February 2019 0 Comments by Claire
Ottery St Mary Town Council revisited the contentious issue of whether it should support setting up a group to ensure the future of Ottery Hospital at yet another fraught meeting on Monday 4 February.
A bit of background information - at the town council meeting on 6 November a similar proposal was agreed by three votes to nil. Subsequently the town council abstainers (who thought that they had won) called for an extraordinary town council meeting to overturn the decision, which took place on 29 November.
Subsequently it became known that two members of the Health and Care Forum had established a limited company whose purpose is unclear.
I still find it hard to believe that a proposal to set up a working group to help retain the hospital, by a councillor - Geoff Pratt, who was asked as to help by the Health and Care Team Chair, has resulted in an bitter row lasting four months.
Our offer of help has been sullied, dragged through the dirt and subject to chicanery by political opponents who appear to be engaging in some kind of strange game of cat and mouse. I have been insulted on social media and mine and the town’s residents continued efforts over the years to retain the hospital and its beds have been rudely ridiculed and dismissed.
Myself and Dr Margaret Hall, who was also subject to unpleasantness, have both pulled out of any potential group as a result. It was difficult to believe the level of vitriol from a minority of people.
On Monday evening the town council finally agreed to meet with the hospital League of Friends Chair, Adrian Rutter, who came across as the voice of reason on Monday evening. However, as soon as the row seemed to abate, Cllr Paul Carter bizarrely decided to reignite it by insinuating that our offer of help was a bid to cause trouble.
One councillor announced that she didn’t think Mr Rutter should be allowed to speak as he hadn’t asked to do so at the beginning of the meeting!
Cllr Carter then accused me of smirking (I was doing anything but smirking!) and the mayor refused to let me respond. I did, however, manage to ask Cllr Carter why he was trying to reignite the row again.
Once again there were raised tempers, including from members of the public. One of whom told me afterwards it was one of the worst town council meetings he had ever attended.
It was not very clear what was agreed, but I believe the town council deferred a decision to establish the working group.