County councillor hits back at claim

Bill Aron
Bill Aron

Horncastle County Councillor Bill Aron has been forced to defend his record - after stinging criticism from a long-time opponent.

Richard Barker, a business owner and former town councillor, has clashed with Coun Aron on a number of issues.

He recently contacted Coun Aron demanding to know why he had not held any surgeries in his capacity as a county councillor.

The two clashed again at last week’s Town Council meeting with Mr Barker using the public forum to ask how Coun Aron could carry out his duties properly without holding surgeries.

He said he understood Coun Aron had never held a surgery.

However, Coun Aron replied by saying he was always happy to meet members of the public and officials at County Hall had told him holding surgeries was not a statutory requirement of the post.

Coun Aron said he regularly dealt with phone calls, emails and letters from residents.

He added: “I also attend nine different parish councils as often as I can.

“My contact details are available in various places. If people want to get hold of me, they can.”

Coun Aron, who chaired the County Council in 2014-15, said he had been cleared by the county’s monitoring officer and a Demographic Services Manager.

He said Mr Barker appeared to have been ‘mistaken’ in believing there was an obligation to hold surgeries and stressed he had given a ‘full and frank answer’ to the complaint.

Mr Barker countered by saying he was not satisfied and added he thought it was ‘irresponsible’ of councillors not to hold surgeries.