Longboat Cafe debate turns nasty...
PUBLISHED: 12:48 28 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:44 10 June 2010
POLITICS got personal this week when a Budleigh Salterton district councillor was verbally attacked in public for supporting the Longboat Café proposal. Councillor Ray Franklin, who was recently diagnosed with a serious heart condition, was left shaken
POLITICS got personal this week when a Budleigh Salterton district councillor was verbally attacked in public for supporting the Longboat Café proposal.
Councillor Ray Franklin, who was recently diagnosed with a serious heart condition, was left 'shaken and upset' when a female objector shouted she was 'glad he was ill'.
Cllr Franklin, who has to undergo an operation for his heart problem, said it was the worst personal attack he had faced since serving the town.
He said: "I don't think I have ever witnessed anything as bad as that. I have been spat at before, but it wasn't as bad as this.
"What made it worse was my wife was there to hear it.
"It was upsetting and I was shocked by what was said, as I think a lot of people were."
The unprovoked, personal attack drew gasps of shock from the council as the woman shouted: "Twenty years in Budleigh Salterton, Mr Franklin, and that's all you can achieve.
"I am glad you are ill - you make me ill."
The councillor was barracked by the woman on Tuesday as she and around 60 other locals left the district council chamber, at Knowle, Sidmouth.
Some members of the disgruntled crowd had repeatedly heckled and jeered councillors and officers during a debate into plans to demolish the existing cafe and replace it with a glass-fronted restaurant.
Members of the public were whipped into angry frenzy by the council's decision to accept the proposed size and design of the seafront restaurant, while deferring a decision on whether to recommend or refuse the plans until further details were available.
"It's a done deal," some yelled, while others made disparaging remarks about the councillors and officers - calling them 'disgraceful', 'smarmy', 'arrogant' and 'rubbish' as they left the chamber.
A district council officer, who attempted to escort angry protestors off the premises, faced a barrage of abuse from a woman who yelled: "My taxes pay your wages."
Before leaving, the crowd spontaneously applauded Councillor Steve Hall for voting against the application.
Councillor Franklin said members of the public often failed to understand the courage needed by members to lead controversial applications.
"I was very, very hurt by what was said. They were quite disgraceful," he said.