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Attleborough's outgoing mayor makes 'threatening' speech as council embraces fresh start

An ousted mayor has lashed out at his fellow town councillors in a speech made during a recent meeting in which his successor was chosen.

Speaking at an extraordinary meeting of Attleborough Town Council on Monday, outgoing mayor Tony Crouch delivered a stark warning to his opponents as Phil Leslie was confirmed as his successor.

He said: “I wish to thank all residents, and some of the councillors, who fully supported me in my time as mayor. I want to thank all the staff for their hard work during this difficult and challenging time.

Attleborough Town Centre - Town Hall - Town Council (38981629)
Attleborough Town Centre - Town Hall - Town Council (38981629)

“To the councillors who have done all they can to destroy this council, and the few residents supporting them, I say what goes around comes around.”

An investigation into bullying within the council is currently under way after accusations were made towards Taila Taylor and Edward Tyrer earlier this year.

Despite both firmly denying any wrongdoing, a motion to dismiss the pair was tabled in February, which was passed by eight votes to seven.

The pair challenged the legitimacy of the vote, which was overturned in May, pending a full investigation.

Fallout from the conflict was significant, with Attleborough residents voting for a referendum on whether the entire town council should resign.

Due to lockdown, the referendum has not proceeded, but Cllr Taylor said she welcomed the idea, adding: “I fully support that. To hand the power back to the people would be the most democratic way forward.”

Asked about the comments made by Cllr Crouch, she added: “I definitely took that as a threat, that was my interpretation.

“It was aimed not just at myself, but councillors and residents. I was disappointed by it, although I wasn’t surprised. The last twelve months have been impossible.”

Cllr Taylor said she was looking forward to embracing a fresh start after a difficult year.

She said: “I have every confidence in Phil Leslie’s abilities. If anyone can get the council back in good shape, it’s him.

“I’m very confident and very pleased he’s our new mayor. I cannot stress enough that this is great news for Attleborough.”

Cllr Leslie said he was optimistic about the town’s future and was keen to form a community-led town council.

He said: “We just need to turn it on its head and start again. It’s about openness, transparency, co-operation and a realisation of what we are and what we’re trying to do.

“We’ve felt powerless lately as councillors. I was going through the motions, quite literally, and not feeling like I was able to contribute or make a difference, which is what we all signed up to do.

“When I joined the council, it came as a shock that we were so ineffective at delivering the neighbourhood plan. I’m optimistic that this new era of change will deliver hope to our town.”

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