A DISABLED town clerk will be reimbursed the hundreds of pounds she forked out for an adapted desk following a council vote in Spennymoor.

Spennymoor Town Council’s policy and resources committee resolved the authority would foot the £420 bill on Tuesday night.

A full council meeting on October 23 heard town clerk Katherine Hierons had purchased a treadmill desk on medical advice to exercise more. It was highlighted she suffered recurring sciatica, had had a recent breast cancer diagnosis and had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression following personal and work related issues.

Cllr Ian Machin moved a motion which called on the council’s duty of care to all employees and said it was “right and proper” the authority should fund the desk.

He stated: “Initially Katherine had ordered the desk using the council’s debit card as a desk for work use only, and as the property of the town council.

"However, due to anxiety and stress over how the purchase could be perceived, reported and challenged, both internally and externally, Katherine subsequently reimbursed the town council.”

Cllr Geoff Darkes put forward an amended motion in a bid to avoid what he called further “trial by social media” and requested the council seeks “legal advice over a senior employee being blatantly accused of fraud on social media by a named individual”.

When the matter was raised via a public question at the previous meeting, Cllr Machin said he wished to put forward the motion but was told by Mayor of Spennymoor and chairman, Cllr Clive Maddison, no questions would be taken.

The council stated at the meeting that a health and safety advisor had deemed the treadmill desk as a “reasonable adjustment to her (the clerk) workstation to aid the town clerk to remain at work”.

Almost a dozen councillors voted in favour of Cllr Darkes’ amended motion.

While he said he supported covering the cost, Deputy Mayor, Cllr Paul Humble, abstained citing concerns about the procedure with which the matter had been handled.

He told councillors the the issue of the town clerk’s working environment had not been raised with the health and safety working party.

His concerns were echoed by other councillors.