01:50PM, Wednesday 22 October 2014
A councillor's shock solution for removing travellers from sites is to 'execute' them.
Conservative councillor for Cox Green Alan Mellins made the offensive comment at a planning and housing overview and scrutiny panel meeting in Maidenhead Town Hall on Monday.
The panel was discussing how to respond to the Government's consultation on planning and traveller families. The consultation deals with changing planning policy so it applies 'fairly' to both traveller and settled communities.
Councillors were discussing how long it can take to evict travellers who do not have planning permission.
The members referenced a traveller site in Shurlock Row, where travellers first settled in 2009.
The borough's head of planning, Simon Hurrell told the panel that Cllr David Evans, who was not at the meeting, had asked for suggestions on how to speed up the process to evict travellers.
Cllr Mellins then said: "Execute them."
The Cox Green councillor said afterwards that he apologises for the offence caused.
He said: "The remark was an ill judged remark, which I did not intend to be taken seriously. It doesn't reflect my views."
When asked if it is appropriate for him to sit on future panels, Cllr Mellins said: "I do not have any prejudices. I do not consider myself to have any anyway."
Roma Gypsies were targeted during the Holocaust and it is estimated that up to 500,000 may have been killed by the Nazis.
Joseph Jones, spokesman for the Gypsy Council has called for Cllr Mellins to think about resigning.
He said: "It's not something that should be taken as a joke.
“If his judgement is that poor he should seriously consider his position as a councillor.”
He added: "All the people he's representing should consider if they want him to actively represent them."
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