No action to be taken after secret meeting

Thanet District Council’s Standards Committee has today decided that no action will be taken against council leader Chris Wells, after his secret meeting with Ray Mallon.

Mr Wells was photographed having a private lunch with the spokesman for Stone Hill Park Ltd at a pub in Broadstairs on 2nd November 2017.

The authority’s anti-fraud and corruption policy, which prevents council members from being lobbied by interested parties, states:

“…unless an officer is present, no member will meet a third party to discuss….the securing of planning obligations or other community benefits arising out of or in connection with a planning application under consideration by the council.”

A total of 39 individuals made a complaint to the Standards Committee.  The committee recommended that the informal dispute resolution procedure be adopted, with the reason being:

“The Sub Committee considered that (i) there was no or insufficient evidence to substantiate an alleged breach of the Code of Conduct and (ii) the volume of similar complaints suggests that the complaint is politically motivated”

This is despite photographic evidence being provided which showed the pair meeting without an officer present.

It is wrong of the committee to suggest that the sheer number of complaints makes it “politically motivated”.  There is no political motivation, only the expectation that our elected officials follow the rules to which they sign up on taking office.