1. Question received from Councillor Haken for the Leader of the Council:
“If a sitting councillor was found to be falsely and fraudulently misrepresenting their expenses with an intention to obtain a pecuniary advantage, would the Council seek to allow the Councillor to pay back some monies wrongly claimed and quietly resign from the Council with a confidentiality agreement?”
“Any complaint regarding an alleged breach of their Code of Conduct by a councillor would be considered in accordance with the Council’s agreed arrangements for dealing with standards allegations under the Localism Act 2011. If it were concluded that there is evidence on the part of the councillor of a failure to comply with the Council’s Code of Conduct then there are a number of limited sanctions available to the Standards Committee (to which these matters are delegated within the Council’s Constitution). These include to:
· Censure or reprimand the member.
· Publish its findings in respect of the member’s conduct.
· Report its findings to Council, or to the Parish Council, for information.
· Recommend to the member’s Group Leader (or in the case of un-grouped members, recommend to Council or to Committees) that he/she be removed from any or all Committees or Sub-Committees of the Council.
· Recommend to the Leader of the Council that the member be removed from the Executive, or removed from particular Portfolio responsibilities
· Instruct the Monitoring Officer to arrange training for the member.
· Remove the member from all outside appointments to which he/she has been appointed or nominated by the authority.
· Withdraw facilities provided to the member by the Council, such as a computer, website and/or email and Internet access.
· Exclude the member from the Council’s offices or other premises, with the exception of meeting rooms as necessary for attending Council, Committee and Sub-Committee meetings.”
In response to a supplementary question the Leader of the Council stated that all matters were open for discussion unless classed as exempt and that the same standards applied to officers as well as members.
2. Question received from Councillor Haken for the Leader of the Council:
“Recently there has been activity on land at Adderley Place in Simmondley, where a team of surveyors have been taking core samples of the soil at several points on the site. Will the Executive member inform me tonight if there are any imminent plans to proceed with development on this last open space in Simmondley?”
“In October 2016, following the adoption of the local plan, the executive of the previous administration agreed and supported the creation of an accelerated housing programme.
The Accelerated Housing Delivery Programme identifies four Council owned sites that are allocated for residential development in the High Peak Local Plan, adopted in 2016. These sites are:
• Adderley Place, Glossop
• Roughfields, Padfield Main Road
• Paradise Street, Hadfield
• Melandra Castle Road, Gamesley
The Council is looking at how best the sites might be brought to market. To help consider the Council’s options, we have commissioned specialist surveys to understand topography, ground conditions and other site constraints that might impact on housing delivery.
Residential use on all four sites has been agreed in principle through allocation for housing in the Local Plan. At this time there are no outline or confirmed proposals for any of these sites, and any future proposals for these sites would need to meet and satisfy the requirements of the planning process including full public consultation.”
In response to a supplementary question the Leader of the Council stated that the intention was that the sites referred to should be able to be developed without the need to purchase additional land. At this point in time it would be difficult to see that the Council would need to use compulsory purchase powers, however, should this be required it would be reported to Council and discussed fully before doing so.