The chair of a Herefordshire parish council has been reprimanded for “inflammatory” views in a local magazine – which she may or may not be the publisher of.

Following a slew of complaints covering a range of issues at Bartestree with Lugwardine parish council, the county monitoring officer found its chair Coun Lin Hoppe had brought her role and the authority into disrepute.

In part this concerned a new local publication Village Voices, which gave an account of a parish meeting last February on the contentious subject of the new local community field,  that differed from the council’s minuted version.


“To endorse an article which conflicts with the minutes of a meeting of which you are the chair, is extremely poor practice,” the monitoring officer said.

Coun Hoppe declined to say whether she was behind the magazine, but “on the balance of probabilities I believe that she was either the editor or involved with its production”, according to the report of the officer’s investigation.

A leaflet trailing the new publication, with Coun Hoppe’s name on it, had also “used inflammatory language” in accusing parish councillors, some of whom it said were “just co-opted”, of making the “wrong decisions”, and others of “stealing” the community field.


Coun Hoppe was also found to have failed to keep order at the February parish meeting, at which complainants alleged she had given public speakers “complete free rein, including being rude to councillors”.

“As chair, Coun Hoppe had an option to adjourn the meeting or curtail the public session, but chose not to do so,” the monitoring officer said.

“In mitigation, Coun Hoppe has not had chair’s training and tells me she has a quiet voice.”

A later parish meeting in May was also alleged to have “descended into chaos”, but was adjourned by Coun Hoppe. Minutes of meetings between March and June inclusive remain unpublished on the parish council website.

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Among her recommendations, the monitoring officer called for all future parish meetings to be recorded and for this to be made publicly available.

This “should ensure that the behaviour of parish councillors improves, and that any future complaints could be easily investigated”, she wrote.

She also called for Coun Hoppe to come clean about any involvement with Village Voices, and for this to be put on record.

The monitoring officer also reprimanded a fellow parish councillor, Alan Long, who had been seen and recorded delivering the “disrespectful” leaflet – something “he has failed to address”.

No further action was taken in response to complaints against four other parish councillors.