A SENIOR councillor said spare chairs were removed from the chamber earlier in the day for health and safety reasons.
Conservative group leader Ray Wells said he understood the frustrations of the public over the restricted number of seats.
But added that a number of loose chairs were removed over fears they could have been thrown if the meeting turned ugly.
The seats in the public gallery are fixed in place.
Coun Wells said: “There have been public postings on internet forums where there have been calls for ‘a firm and resolute display of civil disobedience’.”
“As a responsible local authority we could not, from a health and safety point of view for officers, elected members and the public, allow a meeting to go ahead where there were loose pieces of furniture.
“That is why they were removed.
“I am not suggesting for one minute that 99 per cent of the public who attended would have caused any problems.
“But it would be irresponsible of us to ignore health and safety risks.”