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.”