Council discloses details of three standards committee investigations

By John Elworthy DETAILS of the allegations made against three Fenland councillors for alleged code of conduct breaches have been revealed. The allegations are contained in documents held on public files at Fenland Hall and for the first time reveal the

By John Elworthy

DETAILS of the allegations made against three Fenland councillors for alleged code of conduct breaches have been revealed.

The allegations are contained in documents held on public files at Fenland Hall and for the first time reveal the names of those being investigated.

Fenland District Council Standards Committee debated the cases at their last meeting but declined to make public the names of those involved and the allegations made against them.


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However Perry Holmes, who recently quit as the council's corporate director, ruled that "once parties have been notified of the decision of an Initial Assessment Sub-Committee the decision notice is available for public inspection."

The councillors being investigated are: Council Leader Geoff Harper,

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Councillor Alan Melton, portfolio holder for economic development, and Councillor Peachey.

The allegations against Cllr Harper centre on claims by independent councillor Mark Archer who accused him of "bribery and lying". Cllr Archer claims he was effectively leaned on to encourage him not to stand against Cllr Harper in the county council elections.

The standards committee is looking at those areas of the code of conduct which deal with bringing an office or authority into disrepute and making improper use of his office to secure an advantage or disadvantage.

External investigators have now quizzed Cllr Harper and others about the allegations and a report is expected in October.

Cllr Melton has been accused by Chatteris town councillor Chris Howes of alleging leaking confidential information over a possible �1.5 million grant to the town from Cambridgeshire Horizons to help with a leisure centre. Again a report by investigators is due in October.

The other allegation has been made by Professor Brian Ford over allegations of misconduct by Councillor Ken Peachey that he made misleading or untrue statements in respect of a planning application for a new village hall at Eastrea.

The standards committee expects a report into these allegations as early as next month.

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