Suffolk parish council row ends up in High Court in London

Olivia Boland

OIivia Boland was a parish councillor and runs Tostock Animal Park. - Credit: Gregg Brown

A long-running row at a Suffolk parish council is set to feature in a High Court case on Friday after one of its members launched a legal appeal against her removal from the body.

Olivia Boland has been a member of Tostock Parish Council since 2019 - but was told she was disqualified from membership because she had not attended a meeting for more than six months. 

Her expulsion came after May's meeting of the council.

She had sent an email explaining that she might not be able to attend because of fears over whether it would be safe because of Covid regulations, but she did not send apologies for absence or ask for a dispensation from the six-month rule.

This was the first meeting of the council since December last year because of the lockdown and councillors had been warned that they would have to attend or offer apologies and seek a dispensation if they were not to fall foul of the rule that they have to attend at least one meeting every six months.

Mrs Boland has taken out an injunction after being told she had been expelled from the council. Another councillor had been unable to attend the meeting, but had sent formal apologies and applied for dispensation which was granted.

In letters to Mid Suffolk council, which monitors parish councils in the district, Mrs Boland says she had participated in parish council decisions remotely during the lockdown but she had been concerned about risk assessment for the council's meeting that took place on May 17.

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She said she had been very concerned that the doors of the meeting could be locked and that people could be talking loudly at the meeting that could potentially spread Covid.

However, a notice of vacancy for the position of Tostock Parish Councillor was published in early June which prompted Mrs Boland - who has had earlier disputes with her fellow councillors - to launch legal action which is due to be heard in the High Court on Friday.

That is due to consider what will happen with the case - and whether there should be further hearings.

The parish council is not able to comment about the situation while the legal action is currently under way.

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