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Tories denied vote on Grasmere

PUBLISHED: 09:36 04 June 2009 | UPDATED: 11:06 12 July 2010

THIRTY Conservative councillors have been declined a request to vote on the redevelopment of their headquarters following fears that it would affect the "integrity" of a Norfolk council.

THIRTY Conservative councillors have been declined a request to vote on the redevelopment of their headquarters following fears that it would affect the "integrity" of a Norfolk council.

The South Norfolk Conservative Group had made an application for dispensation for some of its members to determine controversial plans to demolish the South Norfolk Conservative Association building in Diss -despite having prejudicial interests on the subject.

But a standards and ethics committee refused the request last Wednesday night and said the association's proposals for 14 flats at the Denmark Street site could be heard by four non-prejudiced members of South Norfolk Council.

The panel deemed that Joe Mooney and Martin Wynne, who both belong to Mid Norfolk Conservative Association, and Liberal Democrats Murray Gray and Tim East, would be capable of determining the application without having to bring prejudiced councillors to vote on the Grasmere plans.

Christopher Kemp, secretary of the South Norfolk Conservative Group, had argued the application for dispensation had been the only way of ensuring the correct political balance of the district council hearing.

But Peter Porter, chairman of the standards and ethics committee, said that the council must be seen by the general public to be "fair" and "unbiased".

Vivienne Bell, Liberal Democrat district councillor for Old Costessey, added that the four members who could vote on the matter had more than 50 years' planning experience between them and were respected councillors.


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