Hucknall questions and comments deleted from Ashfield Independents' Facebook page amid Whyburn Farm housing controversy
The Ashfield Independents have confirmed that some questions and comments posted on the party's Facebook page about the controversial proposals to build thousands of houses on Hucknall green belt land have been deleted – and contributors blocked.
Campaigners against the proposals, which include 3,000 homes at Whyburn Farm, have reacted with fury, accusing the Independents of just ignoring any question they don’t like the sound of.
But the Independents say they have only deleted questions from people who were ‘not prepared to listen to the answers given’.
A spokesman also said a resident was blocked for 'threatening behaviour and foul and abusive language'.
Jemma Chambers, founder of the campaign's Facebook group, revealed her ‘anger’.
She said: "The undemocratic behaviour on display on the Ashfield Independents' Facebook page was so petulently juvenile (and against the civil servants code) that words fail me."
Campaigners also took to the Facebook page to further highlight the issue in the aftermath of a public meeting in the town on Saturday.
Paul Burley wrote: “How many ‘intelligent’ questions are being unaddressed and more importantly DELETED? Democracy at its absolute worse, shame on them.”
Chris Arrowsmith said: “I posed several factual questions and they deleted every one and have blocked me.”
Alan Young posted: “I’ve had two questions deleted too, both posted politely and respectfully. They must be very worried, as they should be.”
And Mandy Shaw said: “From what I can see people are asking genuine, well thought out educated questions and being blocked – and why is their author anonymous, what happened to transparency and accountability?"
When quizzed by the Dispatch, an Ashfield Independents spokesperson said: “Some comments were deleted from the page by our admins as a small minority were not prepared to listen to the answers given.
"We would prefer the facts to be published.
"We repeat that there is a consultation and indeed opportunities for Hucknall residents to verify any information from non-political council officers.
"One resident was blocked for threatening behaviour and foul and abusive language.
“We owe it to residents to set out the facts relating to the draft local housing plan and the ridiculously high targets set out by the Conservative Government and reserve the right to delete misleading statements.
“Ashfield Independent councillors are not whipped in any way – indeed our Hucknall councillors have made their opposition heard loud and clear.
“Coun John Wilmott made his opposition clear on behalf of the Hucknall Ashfield Independent councillors at the weekend’s public meeting.
“Coun Jason Zadrozny, the council leader, has made it clear that all comments were listened to and will be taken into account.
"We hope that residents will join us in persuading Mark Spencer and the Conservatives to drop any arbitrary housing targets in the light of Boris Johnson’s promise not to force councils like ours to build on our green spaces.”