Lancing councillor ‘outraged’ over personal attack

S49863H13''Cllr Sid Hilsum outside Adur Civic Centre
S49863H13''Cllr Sid Hilsum outside Adur Civic Centre

TWO Councillors have been accused of misconduct after allegedly launching a personal attack on a Lancing resident during and after a recent council meeting.

Lancing parish councillor Sid Hilsum made an official complaint against Adur District Councillors Pat Beresford and Keith Dollemore following a row at a joint strategic committee meeting on November 7.

He claims he was subjected to a ‘vicious verbal attack’ during the meeting, in which he was accused of ‘never having shown any interest in the future of Lancing.’

Dr Hilsum wrote that when he approached the pair after the meeting, Mr Beresford had ‘lost all self control’ and told him to ‘get out of this chamber’ before calling him a ‘stupid and ignorant old man’.

“In my view he was completely out of control,” Dr Hilsum wrote.

“I was both amazed and outraged that a councillor could speak to a resident in such a belligerent and offensive way and exhibit such uncontrolled behaviour.”

Mr Beresford admitted speaking with Dr Hilsum after the meeting.

He said he had become ‘a bit exasperated’ and had told Dr Hilsum to leave the council chamber, but flatly denied the allegation of name-calling, branding it ‘a down-right lie’.

“It strikes me as a political stunt,” said Mr Beresford.

Mr Dollemore said he was aware a complaint had been made, and admitted having been involved in a confrontation with Dr Hilsum after the meeting.

“He invaded my personal space and verbally attacked me,” he said, but declined to comment further.

A council spokesman confirmed there had been a complaint and that the council was considering whether it would be investigated.

Council leader Neil Parkin, who chaired the meeting, said he was staggered to hear of the complaint.

He admitted the councillors had been ‘robust’ when answering Dr Hilsum’s criticism during the meeting, but said he had not witnessed the discussion afterwards.

“I am very disappointed with the complaint,” said Mr Parkin, adding that he believed Dr Hilsum was ‘playing politics’.

Dr Hilsum said the pair had breached the members’ code of conduct.