Councillors cleared of code of conduct breach

Fleetwood's existing beach huts
Fleetwood's existing beach huts
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Two Wyre councillors have been cleared of breaching a code of conduct after they were the subject of complaints by a Fleetwood councillor.

Labour council member, Coun Emma Anderton, lodged complaints with Wyre’s monitoring officer in respect of Coun Michael Vincent and Coun Kerry Jones, the chairman and vice chairman respectively of Wyre’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

The issue related to a meeting of the committee on November 9 when councillors were discussing Wyre Council’s plans to build 10 beach huts on Fleetwood promenade.

The controversial beach hut scheme had been “called in” by Labour leader, Coun Ruth Duffy, which meant the committee had to discuss the plans in public.

However, Coun Anderton made an official complaint against Coun Vincent’s handling of proceedings, including the decision for the committee to retire to an adjoining room while making its decision, a move Coun Anderton says harmed the reputation of Wyre Council and the perception of its transparency.

Coun Anderton also contended Coun Jones was clearly heard to state she “intended to buy one of the chalets and run it as a business”, stating the vice chairman failed to declare any pecuniary interest as a result.

A Wyre Council spokeswoman said: “Investigations into the complaints are complete.

“They were carried out by the Monitoring Officer and an independent person, as per council procedure, who concluded that in both cases the code of conduct had not been breached.”

Coun Anderton commented: “I was surprised and disappointed with the outcome of the complaints against Coun Vincent and Coun Jones, however at this moment in time, I accept that the investigation conducted by the Monitoring Officer and the independent person were in accordance with the rules.

“I am concerned, however, that, to my knowledge, no other committee members were interviewed to validate the statements of Councillors Vincent and Jones.”

Coun Vincent said: “A complaint was made, it was rejected and I am satisfied with the outcome.”

Coun Jones was not available for comment.