AN INVESTIGATION will consider allegations of misconduct against a councillor in relation to the Cherkley Court planning application.
Earlier this month councillors granted planning permission for a private members’ golf course and luxury hotel at the 19th century estate near Leatherhead.
But following a meeting of the standards committee of Mole Valley District Council, Councillor Rosemary Dickson (Con, Leatherhead South) will be investigated over claims she breached the council’s code of conduct.
Council officers recommended refusal of the application, but Mrs Dickson proposed a motion to reject that recommendation at a meeting on April 4, then voted in favour of the final planning application on May 2.
A report from a meeting of the standards committee states: “The complainants allege that Councillor Dickson has breached the rules relating to the declaration of interests and that she was biased/predetermined.”
The report, from a meeting on April 30, lists seven issues including: the fact Mrs Dickson’s husband’s second cousin Joel Cadbury is a director of developer Longshot; her relationship with Longshot’s PR advisor Nick Kilby; and allegations of lobbying in favour of the plans.
It also notes that she tabled the motion to reject the advice of council officers; stated in an e-mail to Cherkley Campaign founder Kristina Kenworthy that she did not want to lose her right to vote; and did not fully represent her constituents’ views.
A minor point was noted that she lives in Givons Grove, where the residents’ company that owns the estate’s roads has entered into contracts with Longshot.
The report adds: “When the seven separate complaints were taken as a whole, there was reasonable enough doubt to indicate misconduct and a breach of the council’s code of conduct.” Mrs Dickson, who retained her council seat at the elections on May 3 with an increased majority, refutes the claims.
Read on: http://www.thisissurreytoday.co.uk/Cherkley-Court-councillor-investigated-misconduct/story-16107491-detail/story.html