AN APOLOGY should be given to the Yarm charity running the Fellowship Hall - and a bigger sum paid to it, to improve the hall's heating.

That was the view of a Yarm councillor at this week's town council meeting.

The town council owns the hall but the trust volunteers manage its day-to-day affairs.

Coun Marjorie Simpson's comments stemmed from a town hall row last year, when Yarm Fellowship Trust was criticised by some for an alleged lack of openness.

That argument surrounded a trust request for help with the heating system, estimated at costing £4,000 to update.

The town council agreed to pay £2,000 but Coun Eric Turton expressed unhappiness with the trust's conduct, replacement of hall equipment and accountability.

Couns Peter Monck and Gwen Porter later demanded an apology from him and the council, and walked out when none was given. Both support the trust and said trustees' reputations were damaged.

This week, Coun Simpson said the matters were unresolved.

The full £4,000 should be paid to the trust, so heating work could be done quickly.

"The trust doesn't have a lot of money but could eventually repay £2,000 to Yarm Town Council."

She said trustees were volunteers and were accountable.

But chairman Coun Liz Marsden said her speech was like an election campaign and told her to stop.

This greatly annoyed Coun Simpson, who repeated: "The whole trust should have an apology."

Coun Turton asked if she was discussing a financial matter or an apology. Trustees got themselves into this mess.

"They were personally responsible, should pay up and face temporary debt."

Regarding the council's £2,000 donation, Coun Simpson said: "There should have been a proper vote about that. It was not tackled properly."

Coun David Henderson had reluctantly signed the £2,000 cheque.

Although no councillors questioned the accuracy of the D&S Times' report last year, he claimed this week: "I think an apology is about what was said in the newspaper, which was far different to the timbre of the meeting."

But Coun Simpson said: "Words were said."

Coun Jake Dale was unhappy with poorly-run debates.

Some understood the decision to donate £2,000 should stand, while others thought it could be rescinded. Further clarification was needed.