Resignation threat from councillor

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A town councillors threatened to resign after a meeting was controversially disrupted by members of the public who wanted to film proceedings.

After the meeting Noreen Wilson told the Mayor, Cllr John Freeman, that she was considering her place on Whitby Town Council because she was angry and upset about the pressure to be on film.

She said she didn’t trust the people or their motives for wanting to film the proceedings at last Tuesday night’s monthly town council meeting at Pannett Park Art Gallery.

The request to film, which was made just before the meeting, sparked a row which delayed the meeting proper by almost half an hour.

Some councillors were against being filmed while others said local political activist Nick Henderson was within his rights to make the request.

He said: “There are no laws prohibiting the taking of photos, film or dialogue in a public place. Therefore members of the public or press should not be prevented from doing so.

“I have all this confirmed from the police. I can film in a public place, this is a public meeting to which the public are invited.

“I am surprised I am being told that I should not film.”

Mayor John Freeman said filming had not been allowed previously within the art gallery because of copyright issues relating to the paintings displayed on the wall, but councillors were fearful of how the film would be portrayed.

During the meeting Cllr Wilson had said: “I don’t want to be filmed, anybody can use that to edit, discredit and humiliate us on any social media and I don’t trust them.”

When Mr Henderson said it wasn’t his place to discredit the council, Cllr Wilson added: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

This week, Whitby Town Council said it was exploring the possibility of live streaming its meetings and the legalities surrounding it.