A LOCAL businessman has alleged that Lyme Regis Town Council gave a “huge quantity” of Roundup weed killer – banned from being used on its own land – to neighbouring Axminster Town Council for free.
Former town and district councillor George Symonds, who owns the Marine Parade Amusement Arcade, said the weed killer was “worth hundreds of pounds” and claimed it had been given away for free by a member of council staff without permission.
Lyme Regis Town Council recently banned the use of Roundup weed killer on its own land because it is widely regarded to be carcinogenic.
Speaking at this week’s meeting, Mr Symonds said that the leftover weed killer had been given to Axminster Town Council by Lyme’s operations manager, Matt Adamson-Drage, who is also a councillor in Axminster and whose wife is the deputy town clerk in the Devon town.
“These are assets of the town council and should not be given away willy-nilly,” he said.
“You have a duty to protect the town’s purse and if items are being given away without permission something needs to be done about it.
“You can’t just bury your head in the sand, and if you do I would question whether you are fit to stand as councillors.”
No response was given to Mr Symonds’ comments. When he later pushed for a response, deputy mayor Jeff Scowen – chairing the meeting in the absence of the mayor – said he was advised he did not have to respond.
The matter had been raised by councillors at a previous meeting, where Mr Adamson-Drage said a very small quantity of the weed killer was leftover after the ban, and giving it to Axminster saved on disposal costs.
Irrespective of the quantity or cost, it was questioned whether the council should be giving the product to neighbouring authorities, when they had deemed it too dangerous and un-environmentally-friendly to use themselves.