Leaders’ dismay at ‘hijacked’ meeting

Fracking meeting at Freckleton Village Hall
Fracking meeting at Freckleton Village Hall
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Tensions boiled over as Freckleton residents attended a packed meeting to discuss the controversial fracking process.

Many left frustrated after being denied the chance to hear from an expert, brought in by the anti-fracking camp, because of fears it would present an unbalanced debate.

However, organisers criticised anti-fracking campaigners for “hijacking” the meeting on Wednesday.

Freckleton Parish Council hosted the event, at the village hall on School Lane, to allow residents to share their views. Some speakers were heckled while others were shouted down.

Afterwards, council chairman St John Greenhough said: “It was a pity the anti-frackers hijacked the meeting.

“We were trying not to let it happen.

“Our aim was to let people speak and put their concerns to the parish council about fracking in Freckleton.”

No firm plans exist to frack in the area – the process of drilling for shale gas trapped underground – but the council will ensure residents’ fears are addressed, he said.

Coun Trevor Fiddler defended the decision to restrict comments to local residents.

At the meeting, he said: “There have been many meetings up and down Fylde but we haven’t got a balanced representation of experts here.”

However, one resident said: “Until a few days ago we thought this was going to be a discussion with people from both sides of the debate.

“We could have had this here tonight not at another meeting.”

Bob Dennett, of Residents Against Fylde Fracking, was at the meeting and dismissed claims it had been hijacked by campaigners.

He said: “I think the council did not like the fact there were so many people in the village who are opposed to fracking.

“It’s quite clear to me that certain councillors are pro-fracking and are not representing their constituents.”

The meeting was called as a result of Cuadrilla’s plans to dig an exploratory well on Clifton Marsh to see if the site is suitable for fracking.

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