By John Baron
Community website MyPudsey has closed down, the people who run it have announced.
The website provided information on events and businesses on the town and was run by local residents Glenn and Hayley Taylor and Councillor Trish Smith (Cons, Pudsey) and her partner Damon Sugden.
The site was taken down over the weekend following concerns raised by Cllr Simon Seary (Cons, Pudsey) about the relationship between the Friends of Pudsey Cemetery and Chapel (FOPC) group and MyPudsey, which housed the Friends website.
The clash also comes amid a public breakdown in relations between Cllr Smith and Cllr Dawn and Simon Seary. Cllr Smith’s partner, Damon Sugden, is also chair of FoPC.
A statement from the My Pudsey website team put in place instead of the homepage, blamed the decision on what they claim are ‘attacks’ and ‘baseless, demonstrably false accusations’.
The statement read: “We’re extremely disappointed to have to display this notice rather than take you to the website we put our time, money, hearts and souls in to, but here we are.
“Sadly after over two years of working hard to try and lift our town following the pandemic, and providing the businesses, charities and community groups of Pudsey a place they could talk about themselves for free, offering historical information and helping everyone find events, work or help, we’re now closed.
“Waking up each morning wondering what attack we would be facing that day has taken a huge toll on us all. Baseless, demonstrably false accusations have been made repeatedly during our existence by people with influence that lack the knowledge or understanding needed to make these claims. We’re tired, and sadly we’re beaten.”
In a statement first posted on social media, Cllr Simon Seary disputed the comments from the MyPudsey team, labelling them a ‘red herring excuse as to why they can no longer exist in order to shift the blame’.
“As an elected councillor representing the Pudsey ward, I am entrusted by the electorate to ask questions on their behalf, to make decisions and hold people and decisions to account,” he said. “…This statement is to fulfil my duty as a councillor and explain my position and concerns to local residents.”
Cllr Seary said last week he attended a meeting of the Friends of Pudsey Cemetery and Chapels (FoPCCs) as a councillor.
“At the meeting I asked a few reasonable questions, one of which was about the sudden and un-agreed to “relationship” with MyPudsey which had not been approved by the committee,” Cllr Seary continued.
“MyPudsey, as well as being the un-agreed to FoPCCs’ “official” website had just started to host the group’s membership forms which requested users personal data for which a third party that hasn’t been approved with the committee should not be doing.
“In the meeting it was also brought up that MyPudsey had purchased an insurance policy on behalf of the FoPCCs to cover volunteers during action days however this policy did not mention the FoPCCs once and would therefore be insufficient if any incidents occurred.
“I don’t know how I can and should be blamed for asking questions – a role that I am elected to do!”
WLD reported in December that Cllr Simon Seary was suspended by Leeds Conservatives for a social media post which apparently took aim at his ward colleague and fellow Conservative, Trish Smith. He was later reinstated and handed a warning over his social media use.
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