Agenda and minutes
Venue: The Thornton Room - Ground Floor, West Offices (G039). View directions
Declarations of Interest
Members are asked to declare:
· Any personal interests not included on the Register of Interests
· Any prejudicial interests
· Any disclosable pecuniary interests
which they may have in respect of business on this agenda.
Members were asked to declare any personal interests not included on the Register of Interests, any prejudicial interests or any disclosable pecuniary interests which they may have in respect of business on the agenda. None were declared.
Exclusion of Press and Public
(i) To consider excluding the public and press from the meeting during consideration of annexes 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11of agenda item 3 on the grounds that they contain information relating to individuals and which are likely to reveal the identity of individuals. This information is classed as exempt under Paragraphs 1 & 2 of Schedule 12A to Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended by the Local Government (Access to information) (Variation) Order 2006.
(ii) To take a decision as to whether the hearing of this case (or any part of it) should be dealt with in public or in private.
Members gave consideration as to whether the public and press should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of annexes 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of agenda item 3 on the grounds that they contain information relating to individuals and which are likely to reveal the identity of individuals.
Members took into consideration the views that had been put forward by the complainants and the subject Members.
Resolved: (i) That the report and annexes be made publically
available on the Council’s website.
(ii) That the hearing be held in public but the
committee’s deliberations be held in private.
To consider a complaint made against Members of Strensall with Towthorpe Parish Council, which has been referred to the Hearings Sub-Committee for determination following an investigation.
Details of the procedure to be followed at the hearing can be found at pages 15 to 19 of the agenda papers.
Consideration was given to a complaint brought by Graham and Mandy Harrison against twelve current and one former member of Strensall with Towthorpe Parish Council. The complaint related to the behaviour of the following Parish Councillors when dealing with Mr and Mrs Harrison’s application for permission to have services cross land which the Parish Council leases from City of York Council:
Councillor Keith Marquis (Chair of the Parish Council)
Councillor Dennis Baxter
Councillor Duncan Hill
Councillor Tony Fisher
Councillor Chris Chambers
Councillor John Chapman
Councillor Lawrence Mattinson
Councillor Kevin Ogilvy
Councillor Tracey Flannery
Councillor Geoffrey Harvey-Walker
Councillor Judy Smith
Councillor Ralph Plant
Former Councillor Cath Edwards
The matter had been referred to the Hearings Sub-Committee for determination following an investigation.
Introductions were carried and the procedure for the hearing was explained.
Determining factual disputes
The Panel confirmed that they had read the investigator’s report and the written submissions from the complainants and the Parish Councillors.
The Panel noted that some concerns had been raised by the subject members regarding the investigating officer’s report but that other facts were agreed by both parties.
The Panel gave consideration to the following allegations of breaches of the Code of Conduct:
(i) Use of the words “profit through deception” in a letter from the Chairman of the Parish Council to Hague and Dixon Solicitors
(ii) Councillor Plant failing to declare an interest in Mr and Mrs Harrison’s matters at the meeting on 11 August 2015
(iii) Bias and no lawful reason to refuse request, evidenced by comments made at the Parish Council meeting on 13 October 2015 in relation to a similar request for services made by Transcore in respect of land known as Sevenoaks.
(iv) Bias shown in a letter of 9 September 2015 from the Parish Council to Mr and Mrs Harrison.
The Panel asked questions of and heard representations from the parties.
[The meeting was adjourned at 11.10am and reconvened at 11.40am].
Following the adjournment the Panel asked further questions of the parties before adjourning to consider their decision.
[The Parish Councillors and Clerk to the Parish Council withdrew from the meeting at 12.25pm]
Having considered the written documentation and the verbal representations made at the meeting, the Panel
(i) That the failure of Councillor Plant to declare an interest at the meeting on 11 August 2015 was a breach of the Code of Conduct.
Reason: The decision might reasonably be regarded as affecting Councillor Plant’s well-being as it related to the granting of access for services on a development on the street where he lived. The Panel noted that Councillor Plant had accepted that he had failed to declare an interest. The Panel did not regard the interest as “prejudicial” under the Council’s Code of Conduct. The Panel also noted that Councillor Plant did not speak on the item.
(ii) That the wording “profit through deception” in the letter of 11 August 2015 was a breach of the Code of Conduct by Councillors Marquis, Plant, Baxter, Hill, ... view the full minutes text for item 3.