A COUNCILLOR has criticised the leader of Castle Point Council for silencing him during a meeting as emotions ran high over new allotments.

John Anderson was speaking at a cabinet meeting when a row broke out between the Canvey Independent and Tory leader Colin Riley.

The argument started when councillor Bill Sharp, the cabinet member responsible for finance, said, “the water will get muddied.”

over the decision because Mr Anderson is a town and borough councillor, as well as a resident member of the Big Lottery committee.

Mr Sharp said: “I’m a bit concerned there are people wearing the Big Lottery hat, town council hat, and borough council hat, and I’m concerned the water will get muddied.”

Mr Anderson spoke out to clarify he was not on the Big Lottery committee as a councillor, just as a resident.

A row then broke out in the chamber between Mr Anderson and Mr Riley.

Mr Riley threatened to empty the chamber if the disruption continued and banged his gavel to bring order to the meeting.

Councillors eventually supported the lottery committee’s plans, in principle, to put allotments in Linden Way, Canvey, which would see residents lose a third of the open space.

The land, which is currently owned by the borough council, may be offered for sale to Canvey Town Council for use as allotments and public open space in partnership with the Big Lottery committee.

After the cabinet meeting, Mr Anderson said: “I strongly object to the way I was dealt with.

“I was trying to clarify something to the cabinet following a statement that the Big Lottery committee members should not be councillors. Yes, I am a councillor, but I was approached by the Big Lottery group as a resident to take part.

“I was silenced at that meeting and it’s not the way to go about it when all I was doing was clarifying a statement.”

Mr Riley said after the meeting: “Mr Anderson needs to understand there is a protocol and there is what is called respect and when councillors spoke over other people like they were doing I reminded them of the protocol, which I had read out earlier, saying they can only make a statement and ask a question.

“Even after I asked him to stop, he still spoke over someone else.

I won’t allowpeople to speak over other people, it’s not fair.

“I gave them a fair crack, but I’m not going to stand for rudeness. There has to be respect.”


COUNCIL leader Colin Riley addresses concerns to Canvey Independent councillor Neville Watson, but is interrupted.

Mr Riley asks: “Are you going to be quiet? The one thing we’re going to have this year in this chamber is proper questions that we can understand, and at the moment I don’t even understand your question.

“The second thing we’re going to have in this chamber is one person speaking at a time and I ask you to give me the respect you were given. You asked to make a statement, you asked a question.”

Mr Anderson interrupts. 

Mr Riley says: “Councillor Anderson, with the greatest respect, you had a comment, you had a statement at the beginning and you’re not having another question. Now you’ve had a long statement, on to councillor Blackwell, then I will conclude it.”

Dave Blackwell, leader of Canvey Independent Party, asks: “Chairman, would it, maybe, be of interest to all parties, if...

Mr Anderson interrupts.

Mr Riley says: “Excuse me, but if you do not listen to what I’ve said I will empty the chamber if you continue to speak over your leader. You are now speaking over one of your members. Please councillor Anderson, shut your mic off and listen to councillor Blackwell, please.”

Mr Anderson: “Clarification is needed if a wrong statement has been made. I’m on this (Big Lottery) committee as a resident, not as a councillor. Thank you.”

Gavel bangs.

Mr Riley: “What that now concludes is councillor Blackwell’s question, because at the end of the day you are taking liberties with this operation and I’m not going to put up with it.

“You must not shout across the chamber to people and I will talk to councillor Blackwell outside of this meeting to try to get some order in these proceedings.

“There’s nothing wrong with the way we’re trying to proceed here this evening. You’ve had perfect support – additional support from cabinet members – to try to bring this to a conclusion.”

The motion was carried to support the allotments in principle and to consult on the site after councillor Tom Skipp asked to listen to Mr Blackwell’s question.