The truth about Councillor Fogg's pre-meeting for Councillors on Jazz Festival road closures

Written by Tony Millett.

Councillor Nick Fogg at a Jazz Festival opening Councillor Nick Fogg at a Jazz Festival opening In Marlborough News Online's report on the highly charged meeting of the Town Council's Planning Committee on Tuesday, June 2, we stated the we understood "...that there was a private meeting at Councillor Fogg's home the evening before the [planning committee] meeting attended by councillors supportive of the road closures."

We subsequently received an email from Councillor Fogg saying he had been told about our report.  He said he was in Wales on the Sunday evening and on the Monday morning.

He said he was "aware of the probable source of this story, which is clearly completely unreliable.  It is disappointing that you should have carried it without first checking it."

He then asked that we carry a correction "...saying that the story is completely untrue."

We duly added a correction at the foot of the story in red type.  This ended "We are told 'the story is completely untrue'."

Marlborough News Online has now seen irrefutable evidence that our report was not 'completely untrue', but was only inaccurate as to the time and day Councillor Fogg called his pre-meeting.  

By email, Councillor Fogg sent ten selected Town Councillors an invitation to attend a pre-meeting or 'presentation' at his home with the specific and declared intention of putting his side on the road closure application.

His email (sent on May 29) read: 

"Hello Fellow Councillors, I understand that a great deal of misinformation was purveyed at Tuesday's meeting of the Planning Committee about the street closure application made by the Marlborough Arts Association."

"In order that people can understand the factors that have been behind the granting of this application for the last 20 years, we would like to invite you to a presentation which will include photographic evidence."

"This will take place on Sunday, May 31st at 12 noon here at [his home address].
It would be very valuable if you can make it.

It appears that Marlborough News Online has been subject to an attempt to hide or obscure the actual course of events.  At the very least checking our story with Councillor Fogg, as he suggests we should have done, would not have been very helpful.

Before publishing the above report we sent it to Councillor Fogg asking for his comments and reiterating Marlborough News Online's support for the Jazz Festival.  He has sent us this response:

"Had you contacted the Marlborough Arts Association before your previous report, we would have explained that we have a duty of care to those attending the festival. The street closures have been granted over a lengthy period precisely on these grounds. All other presuppositions are dangerous diversions, potentially placing life and limb at risk."
"We are happy to brief anyone on this important issue and will continue to be vigilant in our care for the public."