'This isn't going away' - Two councillors lose vote of no confidence

Scolt Head and District Common Rightholders' Association, which wants to reassert its right to Branc

File photo of members of Scolt Head and District Common Rightholders' Association, which wants to reassert its right to Brancaster Marsh Common. L-R, Chris Cotton, Rod Cooke, Stephen Bocking and Brian Everett. Picture: Stuart Anderson - Credit: Archant

Two members of a parish council have been censured for taking part in a protest in the latest chapter of a long-running dispute over land rights. 

Stephen Bocking and Chris Cotton, who are on Brancaster Parish Council, are no longer allowed to represent it on outside groups after other councillors voted against them in a vote of no confidence.

The car park at Brancaster beach on Saturday, May 30. Picture: Wells and Cley Coastguard and search

The beach car park at Brancaster. - Credit: Archant

Mr Bocking and Mr Cotton had taken part in a camp-out protest over the bank holiday weekend, in support of commoners' rights over a stretch of Brancaster Marsh.

They object to part of the 621-acre region known as the marsh common from being used by the National Trust and the Royal West Norfolk Golf Club.

The group This Land is Ours ran the protest, in support of a group called the Scolt Head and District Common Rightholders' Association.

Brancaster parish councillor Briony Bax. Picture: Alexandra Preston

Brancaster Parish Council chairman Briony Bax. - Credit: Archant

Mr Bocking said he was disappointed with the council's actions.

"The car park forms part of the land which in my view belongs to the parish of Brancaster," he said. "Nobody has ever been fined for parking there.They can't because to do that they would have to show ownership.

"It's the injustice of it more than anything. The council didn't come out of this smelling of roses and this certainly isn't going to go away."

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Briony Bax, the council's chairman, put forward the vote of no confidence asking for Mr Bocking's and Mr Cotton's membership of council groups to be withdrawn, which was passed by the majority of other councillors. 

On behalf of a group of other councillors, she said "we are outraged and saddened" at the participation of the two councillors in the planning of the protest.

Simon Bower, parish clerk, said: "It's been a long-standing situation which is unfortunate and divisive. There was a group of councillors who felt it needed to be addressed. There was support expressed for Mr Bocking and Mr Cotton but there was also support for the other point of view, privately expressed."  

The National Trust and the Royal West Norfolk Golf Club have also been contacted for comment.