Bolton Percy parish councillors in code breach

TWO senior parish councillors breached the code of conduct during a debate on affordable housing plans in their village near Tadcaster, an investigation concluded.

Selby District Council’s monitoring office was called in to investigate after complaints were made about Bolton Percy councillors Denise Ford and David Robinson, who were chair and vice-chair of the parish at the time.

Former Selby district councillor Brian Percival and resident Kathleen Rhodes claimed the councillors failed to declare a personal and prejudicial interest when the parish considered the affordable housing proposals for land in Oak Avenue, saying they should have withdrawn from the room and avoided taking part in any discussions or vote.

In letters to them, upholding their complaints, deputy monitoring officer Michelle Sacks said it was clear there had been a significant amount of concern about an attempt by Selby District Council, the Rural Housing Trust and Broadacres Housing Association to identify and develop a small affordable housing scheme.

But she said the strength of those concerns did not set aside the duty of councillors to comply with the code.

She was satisfied the two councillors had a personal and prejudicial interest in the proposal – which they had failed to declare.

In Coun Robinson’s case, he owned and lived in a property in the vicinity of the site and his financial interest would be affected by the development, while Coun Ford was a close personal friend of Coun Robinson.

Mrs Ford said she had resigned from the parish council last year, not because of the findings but because of new rules for declarations of interest which had been introduced, which would have led to personal details going online in an unnecessarily intrusive manner.

She claimed she had felt she did not have to declare an interest over the affordable housing issue because the district had not followed due process.

Coun Robinson, who remains on the parish as vice chair, said he accepted he had made a mistake and should have formally declared an interest, even though other councillors had all known he lived near the site.

He said he had received no training at the time about the code of conduct, although he and other parish councillors had since received such training.

Comments (7)

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9:09am Tue 15 Jan 13

Mulgrave says...

I can see both sides, in a small village everyone knows everyone else and it can call into question the objectivity of having a Parish Council. It is also a little bizarre that if you compare City of York Council wards, which all have councillors to represent them, some areas such as Osbaldwick and Strensall also have a Parish Council, whilst Acomb and Clementhorpe do not.

I note the 'PC' use of 'chair' in the article, however the legal framework which empowers Parish Councils does not recognise this, they have a chairman irrespective of the holder's gender.
I can see both sides, in a small village everyone knows everyone else and it can call into question the objectivity of having a Parish Council. It is also a little bizarre that if you compare City of York Council wards, which all have councillors to represent them, some areas such as Osbaldwick and Strensall also have a Parish Council, whilst Acomb and Clementhorpe do not. I note the 'PC' use of 'chair' in the article, however the legal framework which empowers Parish Councils does not recognise this, they have a chairman irrespective of the holder's gender. Mulgrave
  • Score: 0

10:42am Tue 15 Jan 13

capt spaulding says...

So did the plans go ahead then ?
The horses have left the field.
So did the plans go ahead then ? The horses have left the field. capt spaulding
  • Score: 0

10:45am Tue 15 Jan 13

capt spaulding says...

They have since recieved training ?
They attended the 30min lecture then.
They have since recieved training ? They attended the 30min lecture then. capt spaulding
  • Score: 0

11:53am Tue 15 Jan 13

myselby says...

They have since recieved training ?
They attended the 30min lecture then.”
cup of tea and a chat more like
They have since recieved training ? They attended the 30min lecture then.” cup of tea and a chat more like myselby
  • Score: 0

4:17pm Tue 15 Jan 13

johnwill says...

I thought the point of a Parish Council was to give those that live there the chance to put their point of view to the planning authority. Any Parish Councillor living in a small village will have a point of view either for or against a proposal depending on how he/she will be affected.
I thought the point of a Parish Council was to give those that live there the chance to put their point of view to the planning authority. Any Parish Councillor living in a small village will have a point of view either for or against a proposal depending on how he/she will be affected. johnwill
  • Score: 0

10:10pm Tue 15 Jan 13

baldiebiker says...

Is affordable housing for the local young persons so that they can stay in the village or is it some where for the drug addicts to be rehoused.
Is affordable housing for the local young persons so that they can stay in the village or is it some where for the drug addicts to be rehoused. baldiebiker
  • Score: 0

3:35pm Thu 17 Jan 13

Scarlet Pimpernel says...

baldiebiker wrote:
Is affordable housing for the local young persons so that they can stay in the village or is it some where for the drug addicts to be rehoused.
Sadly, it is allocated to those most in need, and just because you were born and lived in a village, and cannot afford to buy a house, does not mean that you are more needy than an immigrant or out of work offender, who doesn't live there.

Incidentally, 'affordable housing' is social rented housing.
[quote][p][bold]baldiebiker[/bold] wrote: Is affordable housing for the local young persons so that they can stay in the village or is it some where for the drug addicts to be rehoused.[/p][/quote]Sadly, it is allocated to those most in need, and just because you were born and lived in a village, and cannot afford to buy a house, does not mean that you are more needy than an immigrant or out of work offender, who doesn't live there. Incidentally, 'affordable housing' is social rented housing. Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Score: 0

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