'We want a personal apology' - residents' upset over councillor's accidental email (From Watford Observer)
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Residents' upset over Bushey Park Councillor Linda Silver's accidental eruv email
Members of a residents group in Bushey are "upset" they have not received a personal apology from a councillor, who accidentally sent them an email about a controversial planning application.
Conservative councillor for Bushey Park Linda Silver sent the email to fellow councillors about the eruv proposal but, by mistake, copied a Bushey resident into the email.
The comments related to a public meeting held on August 6, 2013, which was not attended by Mrs Silver, who is the chair of planning.
In the e-mail she wrote: "The public meeting was full of Lib Dems and was most damaging to the local Jewish Community. The planning meeting is next week and will be full of the same braying public."
The residents group in Bushey has hit back and said they believe the comments were "contemptuous, misleading, inaccurate, prejudicial and politicised a public meeting about a contentious planning application".
The group said they are upset that they have not received a personal apology for the "unacceptable comments" made by Councillor Silver.
The application to form an eruv includes installing poles connected with fishing wire in 25 locations around Bushey.
The success of the eruv application, which was lodged on behalf of Bushey United Synagogue, in Sparrows Herne, will see a majority of poles 5.5 metres high being erected across the area.
Following complaints to the authority’s Public Standards Committee, who upheld some of the concerns but have no power to take further action, to date no apology has been issued by councillor Silver personally to the residents group.
A spokesperson for the residents association said: "Clearly councillor Silver has failed to appreciate the deep offence felt by her constituents, who she purports to serve as a councillor, with regard to both her comments and her failure to make a personal apology.
"Sadly the residents group has come to accept that such an apology is now unlikely to be forthcoming."
The eruv is now being referred to the local government ombudsman and for legal advice.
Glen Wooldrige, director of environment with responsibility for planning, said: "Regarding the complaint against a councillor, this has been resolved by the standards committee of the council.
"It is not their role to excuse behaviour, rather to understand and explain what happened and then apply a sanction if that is warranted.
"They investigated this complaint and as the councillor in question has apologised for what happened, they believe this is a proportionate response and the matter is now closed."
Councillor Silver said an apology was sent within a letter saying that no offence was ever meant.
She said: "The letter said I apologise if the email did cause offence.
"This matter came about when an application for an Eruv came to Hertsmere Borough Council. I was not present at the planning meeting I was abroad on holiday so I did not chair the meeting or take part in the deliberations.
"I did however receive the most awful emails containing threats and antisemitic comments which were terrible."
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