Epworth mast row rages on amid secrecy war of words

Councillors Liz Redfern and David Robinson at the CCTV pole.
Councillors Liz Redfern and David Robinson at the CCTV pole.

A row over Epworth’s new CCTV mast exploded again, as the leader of North Lincolnshire Council was accused of a “secret agenda” by the chairman of the town council.

One councillor walked out of the fiery February meeting at Epworth. Coun Richard Hall said: “I left in disgust or I might have said something I regretted. The performance that night brought the town council in to ill repute.”

The ongoing dispute relates to the siting of a new CCTV mast on town council land at Kings Head Croft in Epworth, without prior consultation or planning permission.

The leader of North Lincolnshire Council, Liz Redfern, told the meeting that the siting was a genuine mistake by workers who believed they were on North Lincolnshire’s land.

“This has been blown up out of all proportion,” she said. “But it is the best place for the mast. If the pole is moved there will not be clear vision for the number two camera, Its current situation gives the best coverage of Market Place. If the town council doesn’t want the mast please say so and we will move it.”

But town council chairman Don Stewart said he had taken the issue off December’s agenda because he was told the mast would be moved to the centre of Epworth’s car park on North Lincolnshire’s land. No proper procedures have been followed, he said, and an informal site visit took place without his knowledge.

He blasted: “I really feel something has been hidden. It costs a lot of money to place a mast. If we made a mistake like that we would be rapped for it. It’s not good enough.”

He was further incensed when Coun Redfern offered ‘papers’ to be passed around the table. “These should have been available for people to read before the meeting and to discuss,” he said. “We have had no official papers at all to do with this issue.”

The charged debate ended with an agreement for town councillors to pay a formal site visit, and for a decision to be made at the March town council meeting. Coun Hall said: “I believe there was a genuine oversight in the placing of the mast. We should be grateful that this has been provided for us at all by the Council.”