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Three councillors in walk-out at fire station sale meeting at Halling Community Centre, in Halling

By Lynn Cox

A meeting to discuss the sale of a village fire station descended into chaos when three members of the parish council walked out within five minutes.

Villagers said the chairman of Halling Parish Council’s fire station committee, Kelly Talbot, and members Mark Joy and Michael Chattington left the meeting.

The committee was set up in December to go on a factfinding mission and gauge villagers’ opinions about what they want to see done with the building, which is currently on the market.

The fire station was purchased by the parish council on behalf of the community after housing giant Redrow, which had built a large new estate in the area, donated £100,000.

It has been at the centre of a row in the village after the parish council stalled on a possible £175,000 sale of the building to the local baptist church.

The fire station is up for sale

The fire station is up for sale

Many villagers said they have still not been consulted over the plans and went along to the meeting at the community centre on Wednesday , to ask questions and find out more.

But those who attended said within minutes of opening the meeting, Ms Talbot told villagers there would be no question or answer session and when one villager, Barry Barnes, asked if he could read out a statement and began to do so, the trio decided to walk out, leaving the meeting in chaos.

Resident Tony Pickard has written to the parish council complaining about the members’ conduct. He said: “The meeting held by the fire station committee went less than smoothly.

“The way your councillors acted was utterly disgraceful and extremely disrespectful to a room packed with their colleagues and most importantly their parishioners. There are no excuses for people in the public eye to act in such a manner.”

Many other villagers have posted on the Simply Halling Facebook group, including some who say they will complain to Medway Council’s monitoring officer.

One village mum said: “It’s a shame that some of the councillors that we voted for seem to have forgotten they are there to put forward our views and not their own.”

Medway Council said it couldn’t not comment or confirm it had received any individual complaints, but a spokesman added: “We have a good working relationship with all our parish councils and offer support on specific issues where necessary.

“We have been in talks with Halling Parish Council to help them find a resolution and move forward.”

The Medway Messenger asked Cllr Talbot for a comment but as we went to press neither she not any other member of the committee had responded.

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