“Potentially Libellous” Comments on Adderbury.org Removed

A recent Banbury Guardian article describes how the split within Adderbury parish has deepened following public comments on a village website, Adderbury.org.

These comments were described by one West Adderbury resident as “a tirade of personal abuses, insults and slanderous remarks directed at innocent individuals”.

The remarks, which are also described in the Banbury Guardian article as possibly libellous, were posted on Adderbury.org’s post entitled “Update on Community Governance Review”.  

Adderbury Parish Council Chair Mrs Diane Bratt told the Banbury Guardian that “Public arguments between residents are never a good thing but as parish council chairman I cannot make a specific comment on what one group of residents have said about another group”.

While we do not feel it would be appropriate to re-publish the offending comments here, we do note that one of the comments which has since been taken down was made by none other than Diane Bratt’s husband, Rowland Bratt,  Perhaps this is why Mrs Bratt felt she could not comment.

We also note that Mr Rowland Bratt’s comment “outed” a member of the community as a “Justice of the Peace” (i.e. a magistrate).  Mr Bratt was thanked for revealing this piece of information in a comment by former Parish Councillor Rick Atkinson. Mr Atkinson then describes this local magistrate as “peddling the lies and distortions” of a “deceitful group”.

However, comments on social media platform Nextdoor expressed concern that Mr Bratt’s exposure of a local magistrate could potentially be “very dangerous”.  Shortly afterwards, all the comments made on this article were taken down by Adderbury.org.

A statement on Adderbury.org explains that:

“The website committee have decided to take down the thread of comments related to the article on the Community Governance Review as in their view there is a risk of contravening section 3.2 of their constitution relating to unacceptable comments“.

The Banbury Guardian article also quotes a West Adderbury resident as saying that: “Many more residents would speak out if it were not for the bullying and toxic culture surrounding politics in the parish which has stifled democracy for many years.”

This particular exchange of comments on Adderbury.org between Adderbury residents and the husband of the Parish Council Chair is perhaps representative of the “toxic culture” this resident describes. When parishioners who express views contrary to those of the leaders of the Parish Council are subjected to public comments, which are not only personal in nature but relate to that resident’s livelihood, surely it is time for something to change.

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