Selsey councillor resigns over Mugabe remarks

Aerial view of Life Boat, station Selsey.
Aerial view of Life Boat, station Selsey.

A COUNCILLOR has resigned from Selsey Town Council after remarks about the neighbourhood plan, in which he mentioned Robert Mugabe.

John Hiscock spoke about the neighbourhood plan at last week’s Selsey Town Council meeting, where two large scale developments were being discussed. His comments were reported in the Chichester Observer yesterday (August 21).

He said the council should not be using a neighbourhood plan where just one per cent of people in the town got involved.

“To me that is a working majority for Robert Mugabe,” said Mr Hiscock. “This is not democracy.”

After four complaints from councillors, he was called in for a meeting with the chairman of the council to discuss the remarks.

An article then appeared in yesterday’s Observer, after which he resigned from his position on the council.

He told the Observer today (August 22), he was not comparing the town council to the Zimbabwe dictator, but he was using the remark to illustrate the neighbourhood plan should not be based on the views of one per cent of Selsey residents.

“I did not compare it [the town council] to him, what I did say was it was a working majority for him, but not a working majority for the town council,” he said.

“You can ask people to participate, if they don’t you vote with your feet.”

In the meeting last week, councillor Brian Rainer said: “I agree he (Mugabe) has actively denied 99 per cent of people having a say.

“Are we saying Selsey Town Council has denied 99 per cent of people having a say, or is it really 99 per cent of Selsey people did not actually bother responding to the neighbourhood plan.”

The chairman of the planning committee, Ben Cooper, said the council sent out thousands of surveys and had a roadshow around the town trying to get people involved in the development of the neighbourhood plan.

See next week’s Observer for an interview with Mr Hiscock on his decision to quit and his views on planning in the area (August 28).