Chairman barred from group’s venue

Jason Ferry, chairman of Newtongrange Community Council
Jason Ferry, chairman of Newtongrange Community Council

A community council has had to change its venue for meetings after its chairman was barred for an alleged incident that he strongly disputes.

Newtongrange Community Council will no longer hold its meetings in The Dean Tavern, after Jason Ferry was barred for an incident he believes is a case of mistaken identity.

He said: “The manager said that it’s something that occurred three months ago. Speaking inappropriately to staff, calling them ‘sweet cheeks’. Which I find quite disrespectful.

“Even people that were with me that Friday night have said nothing happened. I remember the night clearly. It’s absolute nonsense.

“When the manager was refusing to serve me on May 14 for this ‘incident’, I referred to him, to friends, as an a***hole. I have to admit that, because it happened, but is it really worthy of an indefinite lifetime ban?

“But I can’t apologise or admit to anything else, as this alleged incident didn’t occur.”

Mr Ferry is worried that these allegations could harm the good name of his group.

He said: “That’s going to alter people’s opinions of me and potentially harm the reputation of the community council – so it’s quite disappointing.

“The upshot of it is that we have moved the community council meetings to the library.”

Mr Ferry is also angry at the way the Dean Tavern Trust has handled the situation.

He said: “I contacted the Trust as per their own protocol and it just seems from the content of the phone call with Calum Laird (chairman) that the Trust is a closed shop.

“If Calum had went and spoke to the manager this could have been sorted out quite amicably. But they are going down the hard line saying they are sticking by what they were told.

“It’s not how the Trust should really operate. They are going to do this investigation, but reading between the lines their minds are made up.

“I’m not wanting this to be a personal thing, but I think this is personal against me.

“It is out there in the 
community and it’s important to set the story straight.”

Calum Laird, Chairman of the Trust, said: “The Dean Tavern Trust has a duty of care to provide a safe working environment for its staff, free from bullying or intimidation from fellow employees or patrons who frequent the tavern.

“Minimum behavioural standards are maintained by our staff and when individual behaviours fall below minimum standards, this can result in individuals being refused service in the tavern or in more serious incidents resulting in an indefinite ban from the Tavern.”