ANDOVER Town Council awarded all of its grant budget for the year to a single cause at its first meeting since the election.

Members awarded £1,000 to Andover Radio’s Armed Forces Day, moments after one of its directors Maurice Sweeney uttered blunt remarks to the newly-elected Councillor David Coole.

Addressing Mr Sweeney, Councillor David Coole said: “Mo, its a real privilege to have you here, thank you very much and I’m grateful for giving up your time.”

Mr Sweeney then interrupted and mayor Councillor Richard Rowles stepped in to remind the pair it was simply a question and answer section.

Cllr Coole added: “As a retired major and if I had spare £1,000 lying around I would be more than happy to give it to you, to the committee, because I think this is an incredibly important event, I really do.”

Mr Sweeney said: “Can we keep this brief please because I’ve got things to do personally? What’s the question? What’s the question? Straight question, straight answer.”

Cllr Coole questioned where the rest of the income for the event is coming from, and Mr Sweeney said: “What’s the question David please?”

The meeting heard Armed Forces Day has had support from Test Valley Borough Council and Hampshire County Council.

Mr Sweeney then asked Cllr Coole: “What’s your other questions? We are asking £1,000 for a stage which costs £2,200, our event costs £13,500 this year.

“I’m quite happy to walk out the door actually so we’ve either got the support from the town council or we have not got the support from the town council.”

Cllr Coole replied: “I see no point in asking any further questions.”

Speaking after the meeting, he said: “Unfortunately and although I had started to ask Mo Sweeney questions, I had to stop as he became uncooperative. It was clear that Mr Sweeney was extremely resentful that I had dared asked to speak to a member of Andover Radio, about the grant application they had submitted to the Andover Town Council.

“What became abundantly clear during the meeting, was that there was really bad history between the old town council and Andover Radio. Mo clearly thought these bad relations were continuing and reacted badly to my questioning, and so I decided it was better to stop. A real shame as an opportunity was missed here.

“During the council debate, I did say that we needed to recognise the bad history between the old town council and Andover Radio, and that the new council needed to draw a line in the sand and move forward.”

The only councillor to vote against the allocation, was independent councillor Andy Fitchet.

After the meeting, he said: “I fully support Armed Forces Day and think it is a great event however I am not comfortable giving our entire grant budget for the year to one event when we have limited resources. This means we are now unable to support any other charities or groups through our small grants scheme for a whole year, which is a great shame.”