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Complaints over councillor’s role in housing plan
10:00am Friday 4th January 2013 in News
UP to 15 complaints have been made about a Malvern councillor’s role in shaping the future of a vital housing blueprint.
Councillor Roger Cousins owns land in Welland which is at the centre of controversial proposals for 50 new properties.
The Liberal Democrat, who represents the area, used to chair Little Malvern and Welland Parish Council until he resigned last year.
Kler Developments has submitted a planning application to develop land he owns at Lawn Farm, off Drake Street.
Among those to have made a complaint is Alan Madsen, chairman of Welland Residents Action Group.
He said: “I am worried about councillors taking part in major debates and discussions in the council about planning while having major planning interests.
“It seems inconsistent that a councillor with a pecuniary interest can be involved in debates and discussions in major planning issues.”
He said he was referring to the recent council debates about the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP), a blueprint which earmarks land for 23,000 new properties by 2030.
Coun Cousins was not at the meeting in December when the district council voted to accept the SWDP, although he was at the earlier meeting in November, and took part in votes.
Kler Developments’ planning application has attracted numerous objections from nearby residents and the parish council, but the complaints over Coun Cousins concern his input into the SWDP.
John Williams, the council’s monitoring officer, confirmed that between 12 and 15 complaints had been received.
He said: “It will be dealt with as a complaint under the members code of conduct and we are currently consulting with an appointed independent person.
“We would hope to reach and conclude our initial investigation within the week and will then, depending on the outcome, deal with it appropriately.”
Coun Cousins said he did not wish to comment and would let the complaints procedure take its course.