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Controversial Lincolnshire parish councillor steps down after being censured

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: June 22, 2012

John Copeland

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A parish councillor was censured after he accused other councillors of corruption and branded a member of the public "a geriatric".

John Copeland has now left his seat on Burton Parish Council, saying he can no longer stand the "nonsense" of meetings.

On May 23, West Lindsey District Council's standards committee sanctioned Mr Copeland on two counts of breaching the parish council's code of conduct.

The committee declared he had failed to treat others with respect and had brought the officer of the councillor/the authority into disrepute.

The ruling came after Mr Copeland spoke out in a public meeting in October 2011.

During a debate, he made a personal attack on members of West Lindsey District Council's planning authority when he made comments about "bribes and corruption".

The standards committee also heard how Mr Copeland sent an email about a bus stop in Burton Waters in which he called a member of the public "a grumbler and a geriatric".

The report stated: "The Standards Committee reached the decision after considering the written evidence, particularly the mitigating comments made by former Councillor Copeland contained within the Investigating Officer's report and having taken into account the guidelines."

Mr Copeland stepped down from the council in 2011.

However, Mr Copeland has stressed his decision was not due to the hearing.

"I was chairman of the Burton Parish Council for 10 years and I didn't have any trouble. I came back in May last year and everything has changed, it is terrible," he said.

"I was elected unopposed and only managed one and a half sessions. I couldn't stand the nonsense.

"Meetings were going on for three hours.

"My decision to leave was not related to the hearing. I'm 78, and someone younger could take my place."

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  • malcolmbrhc  |  June 29 2012, 5:29PM

    So that's why the body representing the private bus companies has protested about even the removal of subsidies to the National services, and protested about the proposed removal of bus passes for local services? Because they make no money out of it? Derbyshire County Council has sent "spies" on to lots of services that seem to generate high bus pass returns as they believed that the various private companies were fiddling the returns. Not so - people prefer to get the bus because it's free. Most of the services during the day wouldn't run without the passes - try catching a bus in Lincolnshire and see who actually does pay. Some services, like the Nottingham to Skegness bus specifically advertise to people with bus passes. Why would they do that if they didn't want them on the bus? And to use your own argument, InsideStory, the bus companies will axe those services like a shot, and then the paying customers won't have a bus to travel on either. Great transport policy when you should be encouraging people off the already congested and dangerous roads.

  • InsideStory  |  June 25 2012, 6:39PM

    Regarding the concession pass's they actual would like the government to take the pass's away because they lose revenue because Council's do not reimburse the full monitory value of the journey traveled where as a passenger paying a full fare or even half of the fare would increase revenue .

  • malcolmbrhc  |  June 25 2012, 9:39AM

    I take the point about Stagecoach and subsidies, but it was Lincolnshire County Council that withdrew the subsidy, not WLDC or obviously the parish council. If you read the minutes of the Parish council http://tinyurl.com/7plsfcz you will see that there is quite a bit of history here, and the parish council did protest about the removal of the bus stops. I will repeat that the bus drivers did not like stopping at those bus stops, and passengers did not like waiting or alighting on to a main road with no pavement, stepping straight on to waterlogged soil up to your ankles, and having lorries whistling past at high speed, throwing deluges of dirty spray all over your clothes. If the bus service was not wanted, why is the 777, which takes a bizarre circular route to Lincoln, so popular? I hardly ever get a seat on that bus. I personally know 10 people who used the 100 bus regularly, but it has to be said that Stagecoach never made it easy for us. For example on two occasions I was waiting at the bus stop and the driver sailed straight past. As an organisation Stagecoach has all the worst characteristics of the old public ownership bus services (we know what's best for you), with none of the supposed benefits of privatisation. Thanks for letting us know that they basically operate by a form of blackmail. Let's see how well they do when the government withdraws the pensioners' bus pass from all but people on the poverty line.

  • Saxilby_Mick  |  June 25 2012, 7:37AM

    @ 'West_Lindsey' There is a subtle clue in the story which indicates that Mr Copeland was a member of the PARISH council. Your comments about WLDC Staff may, or may not be correct, but they have no relevance to the story which has been published as WLDC is the DISTRICT council for the area

  • InsideStory  |  June 23 2012, 4:06PM

    The bus company you refer is well know for dropping services in order to use leverage on the Councils to up subsidy's but in this case why should the tax payer subsidize a community who dont actually use the service provided that would be a waste of tax payers money dont you think ? I am afraid the bus company you refer captures the most amount of money from subsidy's and grants and the smaller company's get next to nothing compared. It is also said that grants for environmental fuel emission reductions are also being wasted on air brained ideas ,such as converting older vehicles to run on environmental fuels that are too old to run on the fuels.

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  • malcolmbrhc  |  June 23 2012, 2:06PM

    I agree about Maggie, but I think Stagecoach removed the bus stops for different reasons. After all, the 100 and 106 pass along the road anyway, so stopping even for a handful of passengers would be little effort. The real reason is that Lincolnshire County Council removed the annual subsidy, and Stagecoach decided to throw its toys out of the pram. The bus drivers didn't like the bus stops anyway, as they are in a fairly difficult position for both drivers and passengers. They were just stops planted on soil, with no layby or hard standing even. I still say that there would be plenty of people who would use the service, especially if there was proper provision for buses to stop safely. I don't really care for myself as I use my car to travel to and from Burton Waters. Unfortunately my car only does 11 miles to the gallon and occasionally i feel guilty. I try to encourage everyone else to use the bus so that I have more space to park when I get to Lincoln. So, InsideStory, you are probably right about Burton Waters residents not using the bus enough. Incidentally, a good game to play when you are around that area is to spot a Range Rover , BMW or Audi driving in an aggressive, selfish or dangerous manner, and follow them along the A57. Four out of five times they turn into the Burton Waters complex.

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  • InsideStory  |  June 23 2012, 8:16AM

    Hundreds of residents of Burton Waters don't catch buses if they did the bus company's would only be too pleased to capture the revenue and provide a better service to the complex.If you don't use it you lose it .A bus service is a business these days and needs to make money since Maggie deregulated the bus industry and all other public services and utility's.

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  • malcolmbrhc  |  June 22 2012, 9:39AM

    I wonder if he thought that it was "geriatric" to want a bus stop re-instated that gave the only quick route to Lincoln for hundreds of residents at Burton Waters, not to mention users of the shops, restaurants, pubs and leisure centre also located there. See http://tinyurl.com/bo4p2l7