July 1, 2019 5.16 pm This story is over 35 months old

One down: Councillor denies crossword and call distractions

The councillor denied what the photos appear to show

A Lincolnshire County Councillor has denied being distracted during a meeting where campaigners took pictures of her appearing to use her phone and doing crosswords.

Councillor Paula Cooper says she was paying attention during the Lincolnshire County Council planning committee which discussed changes to Edgon Resources’ Kelsey site, but that her phone was going off due to a family emergency.

Environmental activist Toni Bingham took pictures from the public gallery which appear to show Boston West Councillor Paula Cooper poised with pen over a puzzle and later using her phone.

… and on her phone, during a Lincolnshire County Council meeting. Photo: Toni Bingham

“Ì am appalled and ashamed that a councillor, supposedly representing the public who have elected her into this role, is unable to hold her concentration or show any interest in a matter she is expected to make an informed decision on,” said Toni.

Councillor Cooper said her son had been frantically trying to get hold of her after his car broke down leaving him stranded in France, but that she had declined his call – messaging him only to get him to text her why he was calling.

She said she only returned his call after leaving the meeting between the two items before councillors.

The photos were apparently taken while planning discussions were taking place. Photo: Toni Bingham

She denied doing a crossword during the meeting, but said had a number of the brainteasers in her folders which she carried with her, to do during recesses or outside of meetings – along with a newspaper.

She pointed out she had driven 37-miles from Boston to Lincoln to attend the meeting, adding also that she had voted in the protesters’ favour.

“Amanda Suddaby [the objector] who presented the arguments against it was very good,” she said.

Lincolnshire County Council’s planning committee. Photo: Daniel Jaines

“I thought the objectors had good points, it’s about where people live and how they live and I feel exactly as was said.

“It [this morning’s meeting] was planning by stealth. Inch-by-inch all the time – they do it with housing, they do it with everything, and that particular firm seems to do it quite regularly.”

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