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Residents group blasts councillors for blocking its Twitter account

PUBLISHED: 10:21 18 August 2016 | UPDATED: 09:10 19 August 2016

Residents protest against the councillors' actions

Residents protest against the councillors' actions

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Backing Bromley has staged a new protest in response to the actions of the councillors

Residents’ group Backing Bromley has criticised two members of the council for blocking their Twitter account, claiming this is preventing locals from voicing their concerns.

The residents have staged a demonstration in which they held up placards spelling out the word ‘blocked’ to protest against the action by mayor of Bromley Ian Payne and Cray Valley East councillor Chris Pierce.

But the mayor pointed out that he has only blocked messages to his personal account after being ‘bombarded’ with communications and added that residents are free to raise any concerns using the council’s official Twitter account.

The latest spat between the group and the council follows a protest in which residents erected placards outside their homes demanding that the council be held to account following alleged attacks on whistleblowers who exposed the impact of cuts to public services.

Daniella Jumea, a spokesperson for Backing Bromley, said: “Bromley Councillors have failed residents, but rather than engaging with us they try and belittle us or simply turn away. Ian Payne and Chris Pierce have learnt the hard way this weekend that cutting communication by simply ‘blocking’ out dissatisfied residents is far from the end of it.

“The message is loud and clear. Our support in the community is growing and we are not going anywhere until the councillors take our concerns about the treatment of whistleblowers seriously.”

Mayor of Bromley councillor Ian Payne commented: “ I’m afraid that as the serving Mayor of the Borough, it is simply not appropriate for me to involve myself in this politically motivated campaign being sponsored by Unite the Trade Union.

“Blocking their access reflects that simple fact.

“Doing so does not prevent a single Chislehurst resident from contacting me directly with their concerns by way of telephone, email, or letter, at our residents’ meetings, as many regularly do and have done for many years.

“I warmly invite all Chislehurst Ward residents to continue doing so.”

Councillor Pierce added: “Backing Bromley, a group supported by Unite the Union, will be aware that I have made contact with them to explain the difficulties of dealing effectively with anonymous comments about non ward-specific, generic issues and unspecified locations.

“Blocking this group will not prevent a single Cray Valley East resident from contacting me directly with their concerns and issues via Twitter, Facebook, phone, email, letter, our Councillor surgeries and at residents’ meetings, as many CVE residents do on a regular basis.

“Any residents contacting me will receive a prompt response and, if required, a meeting at a time and location convenient to them, as many of my residents will confirm.”

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