CALLS for a troubled Cumbrian council to be dissolved and for fresh elections to be held will be discussed at a crunch meeting next week.

Copeland council is due to consider a community petition requesting that it takes the action to address public concerns over the way Parton Parish Council is being run.

The move comes after what the borough council - which oversees standards - has described as “growing public unrest” and “disharmony” within the village organisation.

A report set to be considered on Monday revealed that the police had to come to the parish rooms on one occasion, with meetings often descending into chaos.

Officers have also ruled that several resignations and the dismissal of the Clerk have resulted in the parish council not having the adequate and lawful banking arrangements to pay creditors – among them Copeland Council itself.

The borough authority has also received 27 Code of Conduct Complaints about Parton Parish Council since May of last year – an unprecedented number. Of these, nine complaints have already been heard by the Standards and Ethics Committee of which four have been in upheld and five withdrawn with a further 23 pending.

Stephanie Shaw, Electoral and Democratic Services Manager said: “Since May, the parish council appears to be having difficulties in working together to achieve their objectives, and to transact council business in an effective and cordial manner.

“This has resulted in public unrest at meetings, abandonment of a meeting, and, on occasion the police needing to be in attendance.

“There has also been a number of longer serving members tendering their resignations during this time, with three resignations in August and a further one in September.”

The vacancies have been filled by co-option at a time when it us understood the parish council did not have an adopted co-option policy.

Since May, Parton parish councillors have also bombarded borough council staff with over 450 emails – considerably more than the enquiries received by all the other parish councils in Copeland put together. The report claims that the correspondence is “often duplicitous in subject matter”, with the same or similar queries sent to multiple officers.

This has led to the duplication of work, wasting officer time and “unnecessarily draining the council’s limited resources”.

Monitoring officer Sarah Pemberton alone has received around 300 emails.

The situation is due to be discussed at the next meeting of the full council on February 10, as the authority works to thrash out a solution.

Officers have recommended that members delegate responsibility for the petition to be considered by the Standards and Ethics Committee.

A call for the parish council’s dissolution submitted at the end of last year has now garnered a total of 193 signatures.

Parton Parish Council has an electorate of 680 and the turnout for the recent elections was 37 per cent, equal to around 251 voters.

However, the petition has been described as “confusing” because it asks both to dissolve a council and then to hold an election. It has been suggested the committee hold a meeting at which the petitioners can outline concerns and “clarify” what they are seeking to achieve.

Council chairman Robert Huck has been approached for comment.

Mr Huck and his wife Julie were themselves found to have breached the code of conduct earlier this year for sharing confidential information.