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Councillor accused of clashing with protesters outside Havering Town Hall

PUBLISHED: 07:51 24 November 2016 | UPDATED: 14:23 24 November 2016

Protest outside of Havering Town Hall.

Protest outside of Havering Town Hall.

Archant

Police had to be called to a Havering Council meeting last night after a protest outside descended into chaos.

People shouting ‘save our park’, and members of several unions, waved banners and hand-made signs as two sets of campaigners held protests outside the full council meeting.

Residents campaigning against plans to build a solar park in Dagnam Park, Harold Hill, were joined by union representatives opposing a council salary review.

But what started off as a peaceful but passionate protest ended with allegations a councillor had “unnecessarily” pushed several members of the crowd.

After protesters claimed they had been elbowed by a councillor as he walked through the crowd, chief executive Andrew Blake-Herbert called the police.

Union members came out to protest low-paid jobs.Union members came out to protest low-paid jobs.

Mr Blake-Herbert said: “Because of the volume of people demonstrating last night during the full council meeting, officers from the council thought it prudent to ask the police to attend to ensure the safety of the crowd and to keep order while members and officers entered and exited the building.”

After the meeting started, Cllrs Robert Benham and Roger Westwood were called out to speak to the police about the allegations.

Cllr Benham returned after a short while and said “not me” as he entered the council chamber. Cllr Westwood also returned to the meeting.

The debate about proposals to build solar parks in land adjacent to Dagnam Park and Gerpins Lane, Upminster, was carried over to the next meeting.

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