September 28th, 2016

Councillor charged with assaulting pensioner over planning dispute

Councillor charged with assaulting pensioner over planning dispute Councillor charged with assaulting pensioner over planning dispute

A COUNCILLOR from Dorsington embroiled in a bitter planning dispute with neighbours has been charged with assaulting a pensioner on the village green.

For more than two years Robert Vaudry has been involved in a row to turn his centuries old farmhouse into a wedding venue.

He has even compared villagers – who are furious at his plans for the Moat House – to characters from the comedy film Hot Fuzz.

The dad-of-three – who represents Bishopton ward on Stratford District Council– is set to appear at Leamington Magistrates Court on November 5 charged with assaulting a pensioner.

He is accused of shoving 70 year-old neighbour Paul Turner during a heated exchange back in March.

Coun Vaudry – who once served as political secretary to former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath – denies the charge.

The councillor has been met with anger from residents at his plans to stage functions at his £1million home, which they say would bring noise, traffic and crime to the village.

He has twice been refused planning permission and has unsuccessfully appealed the decision both times.

Coun Vaudry, with wife Sarah and their three children, hit out at neighbours for the treatment he had received over the plans.

He said: “My wife and I have had a torrent of abuse from a handful of neighbours. At times it has been been positively evil, it is a very personal attack.

“For some of the hardcore residents, it’s like Hot Fuzz – the greater good is always what they want to do.

The former global head of research at HSBC maintains wedding receptions already staged at his seven-bedroom home had been private functions which did not need permission.

But angry villagers say a website set up to advertise the Moat House as an events centre suggested it was a sophisticated, commercial venture.

Coun Vaudry, who has lived in Dorsington for a decade, claims they are entitled to stage 12 events a year without permission.

But both Stratford District Council and the councillor are now awaiting the result of a costly five-day public inquiry spawned by an enforcement notice banning wedding parties.

A spokesman for the village residents’ association stressed that there was no personal animosity towards the councillor.

He said: “His perception is that it is personal. It is not. We do not like what he is planning to do, it is that simple.

“He’s had about 11 weddings and we all have to put up with the noise and traffic. We’re just fed up with it.”

According to its website The Moat House, which dates back to the Middle Ages, is a ‘stunning country house set in 21 acres of formal gardens, orchards and rolling fields.’

It claims it is ‘available for a limited number of private events” and caters for anything from intimate family gatherings to more formal occasions.’

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