AN EXTRAORDINARY row has broken out after the deputy council leader was banned from a Facebook group by Twickenham Riverside campaigners for 'spamming'.
Councillor Stephen Knight was blacklisted by the group Save Twickenham Riverside after moderators accused him of using the site to peddle council propaganda.
Nearly 1,300 members of the social networking site have already signed up to the group since it was launched by campaign body Save Our Riverside last week.
But when Mr Knight tried to post links and pictures explaining the council's controversial proposals to redevelop the plot of land, they were quickly removed by moderators, and he was blocked from even looking at the page.
Scott Naylor, of Save Our Riverside, claimed the Liberal Democrat councillor had been barred for abusing the website.
"He swamped the site with a number of postings, all of which were council propaganda, without entering into any form of dialogue," said Mr Naylor.
"What he was doing was blatant spamming. It was making it impossible for other people to use the site."
Spam is the nickname for unsolicited email, used to advertise or promote.
However, Mr Knight accused moderators of censorship and insisted he had merely been trying to clear up inaccuracies in other posts.
"This group (Save Our Riverside) has for a long time been misrepresenting the council's proposals in order to whip up opposition," he said. "It strikes me they're trying to use their control of the site to spread misinformation and deny people the opportunity to question what they're saying.
"I would have thought anyone who joins a group called 'Save Twickenham Riverside' would be interested in seeing how it would look under our proposals."
He said a member of the public had contacted him to say their postings, also in favour of the plans, had been removed from the website.
He has set up a rival Facebook group, with the less snappy title Twickenham Riverside - Time to End 30 Years of Dereliction and Decay. It had attracted 85 members as the Informer went to press this week.
Council leader Serge Lourie last month announced that no contract would be signed on plans for the riverside site, which involve building 32 homes and a river centre, until after next May's local elections.
This is the second internetrelated spat arising from the riverside development wrangle in a month. Lib Dems were taken to task in October - and later apologised - for putting an image of a little boy making a rude gesture on their website, in a piece claiming the opponents of the council's plans were spreading false information.