Another request to hold an event at Totnes Civic Hall by a political group set up in “opposition to the state’s Covid narrative” has been vetoed by town councillors.

The Paige Adams Trust, which runs the hall and is formed of town councillors, has cancelled a booking by the Freedom Alliance Party following complaints from several members of the public.

In November last year the trust also overturned a booking by the New World Alliance, a group formed two months earlier by Stephen Hopwood of Totnes, who was a Freedom Alliance candidate in the Devon County Council 2021 elections.

The New World Alliance had booked the hall for a self-penned “truth conference” but this was cancelled after petition with 170 signatures called for the council to revoke its permission to hire one of the town’s “most respected public venues” to the group, which is causing “distress and division in our town,” it said.

Now, the trustees have also withdrawn permission for the Freedom Alliance Party to meet at the hall on Saturday April 23 following further complaints from the community.

Trustees met last Thursday evening to discuss the booking after the complaints were received, and decided to exercise their “right to cancel the booking”, which was due to haven taken place on St George’s Day.

Totnes town clerk, Catherine Marlton, said: “Totnes Town Council and the Paige Adams Trust have agreed that a booking by The Freedom Alliance Party for Totnes Civic Hall on April 23 2022 will be cancelled. 

“The trustees met on 17 March 2022 after complaints about the planned meeting were received from members of the public.

“Trustees reviewed the objections and the date of the meeting, St George’s Day, was noted.

“On balance it was agreed that the trust would exercise its right to cancel the booking given the subject of complaints from community members.”

On Saturday, the New World Alliance organised a “freedom march” through the town centre from the Rotherfold to Longmarsh.

FLASHBACK: January’s “freedom protest” in Totnes
FLASHBACK: January’s “freedom protest” in Totnes (Contributed)

The event was advertised as a march “for our rights and freedoms that are being eroded by the media monopoly distraction.”

Similar “freedom” marches in January and last November attracted hundreds of protesters, the majority of whom had been brought in on five coaches, according to town mayor, Cllr Ben Piper.

This time just 60 or so protesters attended the low-key event, said town councillor Georgina Allen.