Following the letters that have been sent to and published by the STN the chairman of Syston town Council Councilor Stephen Hampson asked for a right to reply. As we are your local community newspaper we agreed to interview him so that he could put forward his point of view.
He explained that problems between himself and some members of the council dated back to November 2010. This was when an application from a charity group to utilise the Jubilee room was proposed, it required quite a bit of alteration work being done to the room at a considerable cost. Initially this was to be paid by funding for the charity, later this was withdrawn and so it would have been at a cost to Syston Town Council. At a special meeting called to discuss the proposal, during which it emerged that the Syston Town Council were not fully informed about the funding available for the project and that the original rent agreed was to be reduced from £12,000 to £2,000approx. per year. The Council voted against accepting the proposal. This he felt was the initial conflict which then over a period of two years and various other situations that have been well documented through various issues of the STN culminating in a year of distress for all involved in an investigation by the Charnwood Standards Panel for various allegations against him. He said “These allegations have made my life hell for over a year and then only one was upheld on a technicality.”
He wanted to let residents know that the council is not falling apart as had been mentioned in a letter published in the December/January issue and that he was not opposed to the development of a new cemetery, he stated that in fact seven years ago he sourced the land for development. However, in his capacity as Borough and County councillor for the area where the proposed cemetery is planned puts him in a difficult position and so he has declared a conflict of interest at Syston’s last Full Council meeting and excluded himself from taking part in any votes, although he will hopefully be included in any discussions.
With reference to the absence of the Town Manager, all he would say was that the manager is off on long term sick leave and that he hoped the situation could be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction soon.
When asked what he saw as the priorities for the council he said ” I feel the council has three priorities: the new Cemetery, general running of the community centre and the estates, which includes parks, cemetery etc.
When asked if he would stand again as Chairman, he was non-committal saying that he hadn’t thought about it seriously yet, but may do if asked or required.
He then turned his focus to the fact that although three councillors had resigned four members of the public put themselves up for the posts. He hoped that the new councillors would enjoy their new roles.
He also hoped that the councillors would all work together for the benefit of the town and put the last two years firmly behind them.