08:00 Wednesday 03 October 2012

Twitter row council chief in restaurant encounter


A COUNCIL chief turned up at a restaurant to ‘demand’ that its owners remove a comment about him from their website, it has been claimed.

Richard Grosvenor
Richard Grosvenor

Richard Grosvenor, leader of East Staffordshire Borough Council, walked into the award-winning 99 Station Street after discovering comments about him online as he browsed for somewhere to eat with his wife.

Co-owner Andrea Pilkington, who was serving in the half-full restaurant, told the Mail: “I was at the bar getting drinks. I didn’t even see him come in but I heard the thump, thump, thump of feet. He asked to speak to the owner and I said that was me.

“He said he was Richard Grosvenor and that he was a councillor.”

The Conservative went into the restaurant after seeing a Twitter post on the restaurant’s website referring to a Burton Mail article about the council’s overpayment of more than £700,000 in housing benefits due to computer error.

The Twitter post was accompanied by a remark about Councillor Grosvenor’s day job in the IT industry.

Mrs Pilkington claimed: “He wanted us to take the Twitter post down and explain ourselves. I said it was inappropriate that he asked us to justify why it was on Twitter.

“I said I couldn’t deal with it there and then as I was serving, but he wanted us to deal with it straight away.”

Councillor Grosvenor left his home telephone number and council email address before exiting.

Mrs Pilkington said: “He was walking out but turned in the middle of the customers and said: ‘I was looking for somewhere to eat tonight’. He went to say something else but I turned away before he did.”

Mrs Pilkington, who owns the restaurant with chef husband Daniel, added: “In my opinion, he was trying to intimidate me into doing something about it there and then. He was forceful but I accept he was not yelling and screaming.”

The offending Twitter post was later removed from the website.

When approached by the Mail, Councillor Grosvenor said: “My wife and I were looking for somewhere to eat and we found the 99 Station Street website. They had put on their front page a link to an article the Burton Mail had published.

“It also made a remark about my day job. I did not think this was appropriate and I was not happy about it.

“I went in and asked to speak to the owner but I was only in there for a few minutes. She (Mrs Pilkington) took my number and said she would deal with it.”

Councillor Grosvenor said he was ‘annoyed’ to see the Twitter post, but added: “I was not rude and was not shouting and bawling, but I did want to find out why they thought that was appropriate.

“I understand I am in the public eye but when people make personal comments and bring in to question my working arrangements and professional ability then obviously I will be upset and want to resolve the situation.”

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