ANDOVER Town Council spent some of its most recent meeting discussing whether it should change its seating plan. 

After its meeting in January descended into chaos, one councillor, who has not been named, suggested that a change to the seating arrangement would 'stop councillors talking to the public during the meeting'. 

A report to councillors said it was 'felt that the open-ended layout with councillors facing the public encouraged continued dialogue between public and council', which is not allowed while meetings are underway.

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The change would have seen councillors sit in a square table formation, with councillors more spread out but with some with their backs facing the public, as opposed to the current layout of councillors and town council officers on three sides of the room, with the public facing them.

The matter was discussed during a meeting of the full council on Wednesday, February 21. 

Cllr John Cockaday said: "If we go to the new seating layout its fair enough. Although some members of the public will be facing a few councillors backs, the public will be closer and I imagine able to hear us better."

Cllr Katherine Bird told the meeting: "I would say at the moment there is enough for us to be getting on with as a town council to say that is not someone we should spend a lot of time debating, but I would propose that we move straight to vote. I propose we keep the layout as it is."

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The proposal was seconded by Cllr Steven Hardstaff.

One councillor voted to change the seating arrangement, with all others voting in favour of keeping the layout the same.

At the council's last meeting on Wednesday, January 24 arguments erupted following fallout over a mockumentary made by Cllr Joseph Hughes in December. 

It led to several councillors ending up in heated exchanges and the mayor, Cllr Robin Hughes, walking out.