Councillor harshly criticised by resident in Fairford Town Council meeting for "deceitful" Facebook page

"What's on in Fairford and surrounding areas" on Facebook has come under fire

First published in News
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Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A FAIRFORD resident has launched a public attack on a councillor about what he claims is a deceitful Facebook page.

Robert Jeanes stood up in front of the town council last week to tell members about what he called an "odious" page on Facebook named ‘what’s on in Fairford and surrounding areas’.

He believes that people should be aware of who is monitering the posts, editing comments and removing any unacceptable remarks from the page which updates residents on news and events around the town.

Mr Jeanes also claims that the posts, which talk about the beautiful Fairford countryside and wish people a Happy Easter, are "patronising".

The page, which has been operating since the beginning of this year, is run by Fairford town Cllr Chris Roberts, who said after the meeting that she was amazed at Mr Jeanes comments.

“It is a community page, not a personal page, and gives useful information and facts about what is going on locally similar to What’s On in Swindon, What’s On in Cirencester, What’s On in Bath and many other towns in the country,” said Cllr Roberts.

“The site has around 700 likes and on one occasion had nearly 10,000 reaches, which means that a lot of people rely on this page to find out about local news and events.”

Mr Jeanes demanded, at the meeting, to know who was running the site and handed the mayor, Cllr Caroline Mumford, a letter explaining his concerns.

"You need to give this town assurance that you have nothing to do with this site," he said.

"I believe people in Fairford have been cheated."

Mr Jeanes believes the site is “covertly run” and said it does not hold any information on the page informing the public who is running the site.

In his letter to the mayor he revealed he did know who was running the site.

“I can’t stand what this person is doing on behalf of Fairford,” he said after the meeting. “The person running the site should show themselves. That would be more acceptable.”

After Mr Jeanes speech at the meeting, Cllr Roberts did not stay long and left early.

This is not the first time the councillor has been targetted by Mr Jeanes, and she reminded Cllr Mumford of this before she left.

She was asked by Mr Jeanes and another resident to resign from her position as councillor in 2009 after posting some unfriendly comments about her Liberal Democrat colleagues on a social media site. She had only just received an MBE.

Mr Jeanes added in his letter to the mayor that he found Cllr Roberts’ secretive behaviour alarming, yet she has said that she has never tried to hide the fact that it was her running the page.

"I would expect your council to disassociate itself immediately, very clearly, and publicly from this embarrassing site," added Mr Jeanes in his letter to the council. "Be aware that even town council meetings are posted up, and ultimate decisions, despite Fairford having its own perfectly efficient official website."

Mayor of Fairford Cllr Caroline Mumford suggested the council read the letters after the meeting before deciding what action to take.

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