EXCLUSIVE: Seaton Mayor resignation: business owner’s statement last night

This is the full statement by Mr Gary Miller (owner, The Hat micropub) as given to Seaton Town Council last night, along with a screenshot and transcript of the now deleted tweets to which he refers:

THE TWEETS:

Transcript:
Twitter @peterburrows 1 January 2019 11.38 am
Burrows tweet:
It seems that someone who was rude to me on Facebook gave the impression that he was the owner of @thehatseaton in #seaton I wish them well in their enterprise.

Comment on above Tweet
Matthew Lloyd @matthewlloyd 16 hr
replying to @peterburrows @thehatseaton
You might want to advise @seatonTIC to be more professional on here and keep personal squabbles on personal accounts. Doesn’t make Seaton seem very welcoming to tourists like myself.

THE STATEMENT BY MR MILLER LAST NIGHT:
(verbatim)

“Good evening. I am Gary Millar, the sole owner of The Hat Micropub in Queen Street. I am addressing the issue of Mr. Peter Burrows, the then Mayor and current Councillor on both a local and district level, attacking my livelihood and business.

On the afternoon of New Year’s Day, Mr. Burrows had a very public argument about fox hunting with a private individual on the Facebook page ‘Seaton Views’. This escalated to a robust exchange of views between the two protagonists. (Amusingly both share the same perspective on the matter). Mr. Burrows, who is surely used to the rough and tumble of political debate, took exception to being called a very naughty word. His inexplicable reaction was to use his title of Seaton Mayor to make a direct attack on me, accusing me of being disparaging to the mayor, and to tell thousands of subscribers to a Twitter page called @SeatonTIC, to avoid my business. On the face of it this was the official Seaton Tourist Information Centre page.

This is a grossly stupid response from any public official in any circumstances. You could not make it up.

It is not at all clear why Mr. Burrows chose The Hat as opposed to the many other local businesses that his detractor frequents. Surely, as a public official involved in my various applications, he would have known who I was?

I do not use social media for anything other than professional reasons. If social media users followed the guidelines given in the Hat including “No nasty opinions” and “Be respectful and remember there are other people around you”, the internet would be a kinder place.

Both @SeatonTIC and Seaton Views are ostensibly neutral and exist for the benefit of the people of and visitors to Seaton. However, they are administered by Mr. Burrows which gives him the control over their content. Reportedly, other supposedly impartial social media sites revolving around Seaton are also administered by him. Personally, it disturbs me that a public official has such a domination of information without a clear declaration of interest.

For example – Mr. Burrows selectively deleted his unsavoury exchange on Seaton Views and blocked his detractor from the site. Yet he also closed the @SeatonTIC page entirely, not at the request from the Council as reported, but unilaterally overnight on the 1st/2nd January after legal action was threatened against the then unknown poster. This had two effects – first; we are unable to see how many people viewed his tweet to assess the damage caused. Secondly; imagine the impression given to thousands of potential holidaymakers following what they would reasonably have considered the formal Seaton Tourist Information Twitter page – A strange tweet from the town Mayor attacking a local small business, followed by an unexplained blackout.

This cannot be good for either my business nor the image of the town as a whole. Surely, directing subscribers to the official Tourist Information Site would at least have been a productive step.

I would argue that these actions were not a selfless act by Mr. Burrows, or in the interests of myself or Seaton, but a means of covering tracks. A clear case of canting.

I have yet to receive a proper apology from Mr. Burrows. His statement of resignation last week did not make it clear that I was not the person who insulted him, then he justified his actions, and finally boorishly he ended with him giving himself a pat on the back for a job well done. Unfortunately, any apology at this time now sounds hollow.

Mr. Burrows was high profile in his role as Mayor and councillor on both local and district levels. As such I view both the local and district councils legally culpable for his actions, regardless of these being rogue or not. I expect both the local and district council to do their legal duty and mitigate any damage against me. This includes a full and open investigation of Mr. Burrows conduct in office, including on social media, and disciplinary or legal action wherever possible. This motion of no confidence, and the complaint to the East Devon Monitoring Officer is a positive response by the Seaton Town Council.

Despite undoubted damage to my business, the support of my regulars, and other public support helps me believe that moving to Seaton to open up a new and innovative business was the right decision. My sincere thanks to you all and I hope to continue to serve you real ales, ciders and other fine beverages in a friendly environment for many years to come.

There is however still much to do from both Councils to support the current small traders and promote the opening of new dynamic, interesting small shops in Seaton. Encouraging visitors to move to the traditional trading area, now called The Cultural Quarter, from the lower end of town is an urgent requirement to start. Regrettably, after a year of trading in Seaton and having contributed in various forums, I have yet to see any concrete or effective steps to this end by the Council. This is an opportunity for both the Council and traders to reset and have a fresh start.

In conclusion I would urge all councillors to support this motion of no confidence. What most surprises me is that Mr. Burrows has not recognised his position as being untenable and has not resigned already on his own volition.

Thank you for your time and attention.”

BREAKING NEWS:Seaton’s disgraced ex-Mayor fails to turn up to meeting about his behaviour

Seaton’s disgraced ex-Mayor Peter Burrows failed to turn up to a meeting this evening which called him to further account for his recent behaviour and to hear a statement from the businessman he (mistakenly) maligned on a Twitter account since deleted:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/01/11/seaton-disgraced-ex-mayor-peter-burrows-town-council-responds-names-names/

The meeting confirmed councillor Ken Beer as mayor and Councillor Jack Rowlands as his deputy.

The person originally and erroneously maligned by former Mayor Burrows (Garry Miller of The Hat micropub) made a personal statement.

It is believed that the ten remaining councillors voted unanimously for a resolution calling on Burrows to stand down as both a town and District councillor for bringing both councils into disrepute.

Owl gathers that, as well as a complaint to the EDDC monitoring officer, there will also be a complaint made to the regional Liberal Party about Burrows’s behaviour within the next few days

Seaton disgraced ex-Mayor Peter Burrows: town council responds, names names

“Seaton Town Council has revealed the details behind the resignation Mayor Peter Burrows.

He stood down last week after it was revealed he used his position to make an ‘offensive’ remark on social media about a local business.

In an official statement issued today (Friday January 11) the town council says:

“On Monday evening, January 7, at the Seaton Town Council meeting, councillors were advised by Cllr Burrows that he had been involved in an altercation on Facebook which resulted in him referring to himself as Mayor and using a Twitter account named “Seaton TIC” to ask members of the public to ‘avoid’ The Hat micropub.

“However, Mr Gary Millar, proprietor of The Hat, had not been involved in the altercation and was therefore an entirely innocent party.

“Seaton Town Council wishes to make it clear that despite using the term Mayor and using what purported to be a Tourist Information Centre account, Cllr Burrows was not authorised to use his title for personal matters, nor was he authorised to represent the TIC.

“He was acting in a purely private capacity and the council dissociates itself from his actions. Nevertheless, we apologise unreservedly to Mr Millar and The Hat for the impression which Cllr Burrows gave that he was acting on behalf of the council.

“On Monday Cllr Burrows tendered his resignation as chairman and Town Mayor because he recognised that his behaviour had brought his office as Town Mayor and the council into disrepute. The council will now report Cllr Burrows to the Monitoring Officer for breaching our Code of Conduct.

“The council will also be considering a motion at a meeting on Monday January 21, calling for Cllr Burrows to resign as a town and district councillor. The council has also asked Cllr Burrows to close the Twitter account involved and he has done this.

“Seaton Town Council enthusiastically supported the opening of The Hat and recognises the distinctive contribution this attractive, well-run establishment has already made to the town’s life.

“The Council is keen to support the town centre and The Hat is exactly the kind of new business we want to see in Seaton. Mr Millar has conducted himself with dignity throughout this affair and we deeply regret the harm Cllr Burrows attempted to cause to The Hat. We wish it and Mr Millar the very best for the future.”

** Cllr Burrows confirmed to the Midweek Herald that he had stepped down after offering his ‘unreserved apologies’ to the business concerned. He said he would be making a statement to The Herald shortly.”

https://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/cllr-peter-burrows-brought-the-authority-into-disrepute-1-5848139

Update on Seaton ex-Mayor Peter Burrows situation

As reported here:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/01/07/breaking-news-seaton-mayor-peter-burrows-resigns-after-bringing-the-office-into-disrepute/

Owl hears that the aggrieved party has made a formal complaint to the EDDC Monitoring Officer and is taking legal advice on possible further action.

Owl is awaiting an official statement from Seaton Town Council, which would be usual in these circumstances.

BREAKING NEWS: Seaton Mayor Peter Burrows resigns after “bringing the office into disrepute”

The audio file below is taken from tonight’s Seaton Town Council meeting where Mayor Peter Burrows resigns after saying he brought the office into disrepute with an “offensive” remark (since deleted) where he criticised a local (un-named) business using his official title.

Seaton Town Council had advertised this as a public meeting and as such “it could be filmed or recorded by broadcasters, the media or members of the public” and the statement is therefore legitimately in the public domain:

Historic Axmouth wreck at risk

Historic England At Risk Register, Devon

“The Axe Boat, Axmouth

The Axe boat dates to the late 15th or early 16th century. In 2001 shifting tidal patterns revealed the wreck in the silt of a former harbour.

These wrecks are extremely rare with very few surviving examples known around our entire coastline.

Its timbers are well enough preserved to reveal details of the techniques used by medieval shipwrights.

The biggest threat to the wreck comes from fluctuating silt levels, as when its sodden timber dries out it begins to decay; exposed timber is also subject to biological attack.

There is also a risk of accidental damage or loss of historic fabric due to floods, storms, and contact with small vessels using the channel.

The Axe Boat has this year been added to the Register and we hope that it will be possible to understand and record more of the vessel, to gain more information about our early shipbuilding history and medieval mercantile past, while we have the opportunity to do so.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/exeters-historic-city-walls-devon-2194341

“Axe Valley healthcare campaingers launch website”

“The campaign to safeguard healthcare provision across the Axe Valley has taken a step forward with the launch of a new website.

Progress on Seaton Area Health Matters’ action plan to maintain and improve medical services in the area can now be followed at

www.seatonhealthmatters.co.uk

where residents can also express their views.

The group has identified a list of priorities to safeguard healthcare provision across the local area. A ten point plan was

agreed following a series of meetings between representatives from statutory and voluntary health groups along with local councillors.

These are:

* Taking an area approach for the Axe Valley, not just Seaton.

* Improving communication and co-ordination between voluntary organisations.

* Maintaining and extending NHS services in GP practices and at Seaton Hospital.

* Meeting the challenges in older age groups – addressing chronic diseases, loneliness and isolation.

* Meeting the challenges in younger age groups – drug and alcohol addiction, housing, poverty.

* Providing mental health support.

* Tackling transport difficulties to access services.

* Promoting health and wellbeing.

* Communicating what is available.

* Dealing with co-ordination and ownership to tackle the challenges.

Steering group chairman, former Seaton Town Mayor Cllr Jack Rowland said the new website would help them to keep people informed and also receive their input.

He told The Midweek Herald: “Broadly the challenges involve trying to establish a health hub to extend the number of clinics and services at the Seaton Community Hospital site and co-ordinating the information to show the range of voluntary groups involved in providing health and wellbeing support in the area.

“We welcome input on these important issues and the website enables this to happen.”

* The new website will also post news about its discussions with the Royal Devon and Exeter Trust and the Clinical Commissioning Group as well as news from council meetings at town, district and county level.”

http://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/seaton-area-helath-matters-group-is-now-on-line-1-5762437