Councillor censured after row with gypsy

Somerset County Gazette: Cllr Denise Webber Cllr Denise Webber

A COUNCILLOR has been censured and ordered to undergo training following a run-in with a Romany gypsy over a planning issue.

The standards committee at Taunton Deane Council upheld a complaint against Conservative Cllr Denise Webber and ruled that she breached the Code of Conduct.

The committee heard that during a planning meeting Ms Webber said words to the effect: “I’ve heard some excuses for a gypsy applying for planning, but this is the worst.”

The complainant, Sally Tucker Woodbury, chairman of the Romany Gypsy Advisory Group, also alleged that Ms Webber was abusive to her during a phone conversation.

The standards committee said that Ms Webber, who was not at the hearing, failed to treat Mrs Tucker Woodbury with respect and her behaviour fell short of what people expect of councillors.

She was ordered to undertake training in equalities and diversity.

Speaking afterwards, Ms Webber said: “I don’t think I’ve shown any disrespect to any person, but I don’t know anything about the hearing so can’t comment until I find out exactly what I’ve been accused of.”

Conservative leader Cllr John Williams said: “I regret the standards board found it necessary to take this action - let’s hope we can move on from here.”

Mrs Tucker Woodbury welcomed the decision – she said: “Being a Romany gypsy, the feeling you always get is, ‘Why should I bother? Nobody will believe me as I’m only a gypsy’.

“But thankfully the truth stood and she was brought to justice.”

Comments (11)

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1:54pm Thu 23 Apr 09

Taunton_chap says...

Although I have little respect for conservative councillors I think she should be commended. These gpsy who think retrospective planning permission is a good given right. She is entitled to her opinion. Its time we stopped '**** footing' around the traveling community and come down hard on those who set up camp wherever they feel like it.
Although I have little respect for conservative councillors I think she should be commended. These gpsy who think retrospective planning permission is a good given right. She is entitled to her opinion. Its time we stopped '**** footing' around the traveling community and come down hard on those who set up camp wherever they feel like it. Taunton_chap

9:38pm Thu 23 Apr 09

Elizabethcornwall says...

When are these Coucillors going to relise that they have to respect the fairness and equality policy and code of conduct policy, do they not know that the word Councillor in the dictionary mean helping as in helper, not Hitler! This is the year 2009 not 1809, get over it and start treating people with respect, the same people the vote you Councillors in. It is a disgrace that this Councillor is allowed to get away with it. I do not think the punishment of a training course was enough.
When are these Coucillors going to relise that they have to respect the fairness and equality policy and code of conduct policy, do they not know that the word Councillor in the dictionary mean helping as in helper, not Hitler! This is the year 2009 not 1809, get over it and start treating people with respect, the same people the vote you Councillors in. It is a disgrace that this Councillor is allowed to get away with it. I do not think the punishment of a training course was enough. Elizabethcornwall

10:31pm Thu 23 Apr 09

bemusedman says...

So Gypsies voted the councillor in, did they? Er, I somehow doubt it!
As for what it is alleged she said, I don't even think she's done anything wrong. She used the word gypsy-so what?
She's shown admirable restraint in my opinion, and whatever fuss-pot reported her should get off their high horse!
So Gypsies voted the councillor in, did they? Er, I somehow doubt it! As for what it is alleged she said, I don't even think she's done anything wrong. She used the word gypsy-so what? She's shown admirable restraint in my opinion, and whatever fuss-pot reported her should get off their high horse! bemusedman

11:21pm Fri 24 Apr 09

Elizabethcornwall says...

Anybody that is on the electrol register is entitled to vote whether they are gypsy, or from a minority ethnic group this is called democracy. I find it extremely distasteful and disappointing that there are racist bigots still out there. Perhaps thses people are living in a bubble and obiviously not in the real world, lets hope at the coming elections this conservative councillor is repremanded by the electorate?
Anybody that is on the electrol register is entitled to vote whether they are gypsy, or from a minority ethnic group this is called democracy. I find it extremely distasteful and disappointing that there are racist bigots still out there. Perhaps thses people are living in a bubble and obiviously not in the real world, lets hope at the coming elections this conservative councillor is repremanded by the electorate? Elizabethcornwall

9:08am Sat 25 Apr 09

sallyt says...

I wouls like to say Iam the Romani Gypsy that Councillor Webber was affencive to,
Ancer to Taunton -Chap i have never broke the planning rules and this was not a retaspective planning application.
And Yes Bemusment, i do vote you see we are not all that sterio tipplicle to you asume we all are.
I work with the Police Communities and Local Goverment And take many Visits to the House of Lord.

And Just to Add i made a call to this Councillor so befor i made this complaint i wanted to give her the benifit of doubt she never ment what she had said, only to be abused totaly on the Phone,
I would also like to add this Councillor tould me She Had been Married to a Gypsy for 27 YEARS SO WHEN YOU VOTE NEXT MABE YOU SHOULD REMEMBER THAT,

When you write somthing make sure you no the fact befor you asume things, i dont brake the law i try hard to make thing better and to Educate ignorent people to see all Romani Gypsies are not what you read about or see on tv
I wouls like to say Iam the Romani Gypsy that Councillor Webber was affencive to, Ancer to Taunton -Chap i have never broke the planning rules and this was not a retaspective planning application. And Yes Bemusment, i do vote you see we are not all that sterio tipplicle to you asume we all are. I work with the Police Communities and Local Goverment And take many Visits to the House of Lord. And Just to Add i made a call to this Councillor so befor i made this complaint i wanted to give her the benifit of doubt she never ment what she had said, only to be abused totaly on the Phone, I would also like to add this Councillor tould me She Had been Married to a Gypsy for 27 YEARS SO WHEN YOU VOTE NEXT MABE YOU SHOULD REMEMBER THAT, When you write somthing make sure you no the fact befor you asume things, i dont brake the law i try hard to make thing better and to Educate ignorent people to see all Romani Gypsies are not what you read about or see on tv sallyt

10:24pm Mon 27 Apr 09

Taunton_chap says...

By defnition a gypsies must at times break planning laws and or live on land that is not theirs to live on. Where do you live while you are waiting for planning permission to be granted? With a friend or a travel lodge. Can you hand on heart say you have never set up home someone where you shouldn't?
By defnition a gypsies must at times break planning laws and or live on land that is not theirs to live on. Where do you live while you are waiting for planning permission to be granted? With a friend or a travel lodge. Can you hand on heart say you have never set up home someone where you shouldn't? Taunton_chap

10:30pm Mon 27 Apr 09

Taunton_chap says...

Also I know when I type fast I get the odd typo!!! But if you go to the house of lords do they not expect some sort of spelling and grammer. Really so far your the sterio (Stereo) typical gypsey so far as your just as I would expect. Please don't educate people with that use of english.
Also I know when I type fast I get the odd typo!!! But if you go to the house of lords do they not expect some sort of spelling and grammer. Really so far your the sterio (Stereo) typical gypsey so far as your just as I would expect. Please don't educate people with that use of english. Taunton_chap

7:06pm Tue 28 Apr 09

sallyt says...

Yes Taunton- Chap thats what you get when you only go to school until you are 8,
if you dont belive i go to the House of lords google my name up Sally Tucker Woodbury i am also a member of the police diversity at HQ,
BUT THEN AGAINE WHY AM I BOTHERING TO EXPLAINE MYSELF TO THE LIKES OF YOU, YOU HAVE PROBLY BEEN TO SCHOOL ALL YOUR LIFE BUT YOU ARE STILL IGNORENT,
HO CHECK ME OUT ON FACE BOOK UNDER SALLY WOODBURY.
THERE ARE PHOTOS THERE TO OF LORD AVSBURY IN IS PRIVATE MEETING ROOMS
Yes Taunton- Chap thats what you get when you only go to school until you are 8, if you dont belive i go to the House of lords google my name up Sally Tucker Woodbury i am also a member of the police diversity at HQ, BUT THEN AGAINE WHY AM I BOTHERING TO EXPLAINE MYSELF TO THE LIKES OF YOU, YOU HAVE PROBLY BEEN TO SCHOOL ALL YOUR LIFE BUT YOU ARE STILL IGNORENT, HO CHECK ME OUT ON FACE BOOK UNDER SALLY WOODBURY. THERE ARE PHOTOS THERE TO OF LORD AVSBURY IN IS PRIVATE MEETING ROOMS sallyt

9:07am Wed 29 Apr 09

sallyt says...

Hi Hilly-farrance know let me gess who you are,
so yes i wanted a place for me and my children to live , and i got it and yes i did get planning for any Gypsy not just me and just to let you know all the Family will be here soon,
so i dont call that lies and it seems that most Hillfarrance people get on verywell like with me , the lovley letter signed by locals to say how they were so disgusted what was wrote in the 6 letters of complaint about my gates,
but we all know how the 6 main witch hunters are .
may i had to those who read this most of these people including Hilly-Farrance in wich as never met me, live about a mile from me.
Hilly be very carfull what you right about people as it can be chect out who you are,
ho and bye the way if i did not get planning foe 1 more mobile home and touring caravan ,when my family came here that would be a nother reson for all of you to get on the phone to Taunton Dean as i would be braking the planning rules.
as you dont know me and are odviusly a snob come to my home and the rest of the witch hunters on the 5th of june at 4 oclock the place will be full of Gypsies lords the mayoer of taunton MPS.
IT IS VERY EASY TO RIGHT THINGS WHEN YOU DONT PUT YOUR NAME TO IT.
I STAND BYE ALL THINGS I SAY , AND I WOULD SAY IT TO YOUR FACE
Hi Hilly-farrance know let me gess who you are, so yes i wanted a place for me and my children to live , and i got it and yes i did get planning for any Gypsy not just me and just to let you know all the Family will be here soon, so i dont call that lies and it seems that most Hillfarrance people get on verywell like with me , the lovley letter signed by locals to say how they were so disgusted what was wrote in the 6 letters of complaint about my gates, but we all know how the 6 main witch hunters are . may i had to those who read this most of these people including Hilly-Farrance in wich as never met me, live about a mile from me. Hilly be very carfull what you right about people as it can be chect out who you are, ho and bye the way if i did not get planning foe 1 more mobile home and touring caravan ,when my family came here that would be a nother reson for all of you to get on the phone to Taunton Dean as i would be braking the planning rules. as you dont know me and are odviusly a snob come to my home and the rest of the witch hunters on the 5th of june at 4 oclock the place will be full of Gypsies lords the mayoer of taunton MPS. IT IS VERY EASY TO RIGHT THINGS WHEN YOU DONT PUT YOUR NAME TO IT. I STAND BYE ALL THINGS I SAY , AND I WOULD SAY IT TO YOUR FACE sallyt

11:15pm Sun 3 May 09

Elizabethcornwall says...

Dear Sally I would not take any notice of what this individual has to say, he obiviously has no idea about planning laws to start with, it is actually not illegal to place a caravan on land, and from what I can understand it appears the land is yours or you had permission to use it. It appears this person from Taunton is a conservative why else would he be bothered to try and protect this discriminative woman. With the coming elections I certainly will not be voting conservative. There is no room in our society for discrimination, and as for your spelling, that was a very childish remark to be made by this individual. I do personally know Travellers and gypsies and I have never known them to be what this individual has described, infact they are very involved in our communities. One thing I would remind this individual is we all came into this world the same and we will most certainly be leaving it the same, what we do in between is entirely up to us and I would prefer to live the way I do then, be miseriable like this individual.
Dear Sally I would not take any notice of what this individual has to say, he obiviously has no idea about planning laws to start with, it is actually not illegal to place a caravan on land, and from what I can understand it appears the land is yours or you had permission to use it. It appears this person from Taunton is a conservative why else would he be bothered to try and protect this discriminative woman. With the coming elections I certainly will not be voting conservative. There is no room in our society for discrimination, and as for your spelling, that was a very childish remark to be made by this individual. I do personally know Travellers and gypsies and I have never known them to be what this individual has described, infact they are very involved in our communities. One thing I would remind this individual is we all came into this world the same and we will most certainly be leaving it the same, what we do in between is entirely up to us and I would prefer to live the way I do then, be miseriable like this individual. Elizabethcornwall

11:37pm Sun 3 May 09

Elizabethcornwall says...

I checked you out on the web and you have done some great work Sally, I wonder what has this chap in Taunton has done lately for his community, I wonder?
I checked you out on the web and you have done some great work Sally, I wonder what has this chap in Taunton has done lately for his community, I wonder? Elizabethcornwall

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