Sorry for the breach...but I didn’t swear

Councillor Evelyn Stephenson, of Fleetwood.
Councillor Evelyn Stephenson, of Fleetwood.
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A Fleetwood councillor has stood by her claims that she did not swear in the Wyre council chamber during a stormy planning meeting last summer.

But Coun Evelyn Stephenson has apologised for breaching the councillors’ code of conduct in relation to heated scenes after Wyre planners controversially approved flats on the Fleetwood Pier site last July.

Coun Stephenson, a Labour representative of Fleetwood’s Pharos ward on the council, was said to have described Conservative members of Wyre Council’s planning committee as “a shower of sh**e”.

The remark was said to have been heard by Wyre’s chief executive Mr Garry Payne, cabinet member Coun Peter Murphy, and several other Tory councillors.

Coun Stephenson’s husband, Coun Brian Stephenson, and Wyre’s then Labour leader Coun Lorraine Beavers, who were present were adamant that the “shower of sh**e” comment was not made. Other Labour councillors present say they did not hear it.

The incident led to a probe by Wyre’s monitoring officer and a report to Wyre standards committee.

In a written statement on the agenda for the planning committee, Coun Mrs Stephenson says the planning meeting was “very controversial...noisy, heated and emotional.”

Her statement adds: “I was very much aware of the strength of public feeling in Fleetwood about the impact the proposed development would have and having heard the debate, felt passionately that it should have been refused.

“However, a Panel of Standards Committee Members has now informed me that some of my behaviour at that meeting amounted to a breach of the councillors’ code of conduct. I apologise for that breach.”

Coun Stephenson added later: “I think everyone was keen to resolve this matter and move on.”