TWO councillors claim they are being “gagged” after being banned by Chelmsford Council to act as observers at this weekend’s V Festival.
Lib Dem councillors Mark Springett and Linda Mascot have been to the festival for the last two years as official observers, assessing all aspects of the festival from health and safety to security and catering.
In 2012, the pair raised concerns about laughing gas canisters found on the site, as reported by the Weekly News.
The council was unhappy that the report was made public, and last year made the councillors sign a disclosure agreement over the report.
Both at the time felt if anything serious was to happen that was in the public interest they would have no problem releasing the information.
This year though the pair have refused to sign the order because they feel the council has to be transparent and are angry the council hasn’t acted on concerns in either of their reports.
Mrs Mascot, a self-confessed fan of the festival, said: “We are elected to represent the residents of this city and ensure their safety and therefore we should not be gagged if we have concerns. This is an affront to democracy.”
Mr Springett added: “The Conservative administration should not be so paranoid about feedback on these major public events.”
Tory councillor Ray Ride, in charge of leisure, said: “Over the years both Tory and Lib Dem members have provided important feedback which has contributed to making theVFestival one of the premier music festivals in the UK and it is disappointing that the Lib Dem members have decided not to contribute this year.
“The council has never sought to ‘gag’ them and they are still welcome to attend on the same basis as their colleagues have done in previous years.”