Catgate: moggie is banned from Tewkesbury Town Hall
The ‘morale officer and town cat’ is now officially not welcome in the authority’s headquarters. Missy the cat has been banned from Tewkesbury Town Hall after a row over her presence there. The moggie, who lives next door to the High Street building, had developed a habit of visiting the town council’s offices most days since last summer. Last month staff insisted she was their ‘morale officer and town cat’ and should be allowed to stay with them in their offices but some councillors said she posed a health and safety risk and could waste workers’ time.
After a complaint was made by Councillor Pete Aldridge, the then town mayor Councillor Karen Brennan said a special complaints panel ought to be set up. The story, first reported by Gloucestershire Live, led to the council being criticised for not focussing on more serious matters and featured in national newspapers and television. Now the panel, made up of Councillors Helen Burns, Philip Workman and Peggy Clatworthy, has decided Missy should not be allowed in the offices. Councillor Clatworthy, who became the new town mayor on May 8, said: “It’s not ours and we don’t know what injections it has had. But the main reason for this decision is because we had an official complaint from one of the councillors who had an allergy to cats. We don’t know who else, with an allergy, might come in.” She added that, officially, Missy was not welcome but noted that it could often be difficult to control where cats went.
Those in favour of Missy being allowed to stay had pointed out that former clerks and mayors had brought their dogs into the offices. A member of staff said she was very disappointed at the decision. She said the cat had brightened up the lives of those working there. “It’s just silly. They said previous people owned their dogs and we don’t own Missy,” she said. She added that she felt the ban was over the top, not least because since the weather had got warmer again, the cat had spent more time in the council’s back garden rather than inside its offices.