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Faversham town councillors receive envelopes of cash through their doors following controversial planning decision

By Bess Browning

Venezuelan and other foreign currency in brown envelopes has been posted through the doors of a number of town councillors.

Cllr Cindy Davis has said she feels personally vicitmised by the act which is believed to be in relation to a reported bribery accusation made last year.

Brown envelopes containing foreign notes were posted through letterboxes during the festive period and the mystery remains as to who sent them.

Cllr Cindy Davis with the envelope. Picture Tony Flashman

Cllr Cindy Davis with the envelope. Picture: Tony Flashman

Cllr Davis (Con), who has been a councillor for more than 18 years, says she has never seen anything quite so “nasty” and believes the move is in response to her proposing approval for a controversial restaurant in Standard Quay back in December.

“This is just something else. In all my years as a councillor I have never had such nasty treatment. It is not children who are doing this either, this is just people who are annoyed about council decisions" - Cllr Cindy Davis

She said: “This is just something else. In all my years as a councillor I have never had such nasty treatment. It is not children who are doing this either, this is just people who are annoyed about council decisions.

“People ought to know what is going on and the sort of behaviour that we as councillors are subjected to. We all have a right to an opinion.

“We are elected councillors who make decisions to represent the town and if they don’t like it, then they should stand against us at the next election.”

The brown envelope commotion was sparked during a meeting about the Creek neighbourhood plan when Creek campaigner Griselda Musset reportedly suggested that town councillors had taken bribes.

During a separate meeting, Cllr Tom Gates (Con) had demanded that police review whether accusations had ever been formally made, which led to a police investigation and confirmation that no offences had ever been disclosed.

In December, Cllr Davis had disagreed with planning inspector John Sell’s advice to defer the Standard Quay application, and had suggested that approval should be recommended for the site, which was supported by the majority of councillors.

Protesters at the creek meeting. Picture Richard Fleury

Protesters at the creek meeting. Picture: Richard Fleury

She had compared the potential of Standard Quay to York riverside which she said is “lined with restaurants and had been done very tastefully”.

But Cllr Davis believes voicing her opinion has led to this brown envelope landing on her doorstep.

She added: “All we do is try to create a better town and we have had many successes over the years.

“We have an election soon and this sort of behaviour may put people off applying to be a councillor. It’s bullying. Councillors need to have independent minds.”

Brown envelopes with foreign currency was posted through letter boxes of town councillors

Brown envelopes with foreign currency was posted through letter boxes of town councillors

Mayor Nigel Kay (Con) said: “It appears to me to be entirely disgraceful that long-standing, hard-working councillors dedicated to the service of the town are subject to such harassment.

“The Creek footpath public inquiry and the Creek neighbourhood plan have resulted in councillors and others being subject to attempts at intimidation and a huge amount of false and misleading information being distributed, which reflects badly of the friendly town of Faversham.

“I hope that people in the town will decided that enough is enough.”

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