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Councillors go to Ombudsman

Created on 02/09/2018 @ 13:38
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Two leading Powys County Councillors have reacted strongly to legal threats from a fellow councillor and called in the Public Services Ombudsman.

Councillor David Price, who has been caught up in a planning row, hit back at calls for his resignation this week saying that if calls continued he would consider legal action.

But in response Cllr Elwyn Vaughan, Leader of the Plaid Cymru Group at PCC and leading Conservative councillor Gwilym Williams have called in the Public Services Ombudsman in a bid to resolve the matter.

Cllr David Price, who represents Llanafan Fawr and is also the High Sheriff of Powys, has been involved in a row over a caravan and camping site on his family business at Noyadd Farm near Builth.

Last month Cllr Price successfully applied to Powys County Council's(PCC) planning committee, of which he is a member, for a certificate of lawfulness for a camping site which he claims was established by his parents during the 1950s. Cllr Price was not present at the meeting while it was being considered.

Cllr Elwyn Vaughan, Glantwymyn councillor and leader of the Plaid Cymru group at PCC had called for Cllr Price to "do the honourable thing and resign" over the issue in a statement, saying his membership of the planning committee makes a "mockery" of the council.

But Cllr Price broke his silence on the issue describing Cllr Vaughan's comments as "misleading".

In a statement to MyNewtown Councillors Vaughan and Williams said Cllr Price was missing the point.

 “We read with interest that Cllr David Price claims he has been harassed as a result of recent publicity. However it seems he has missed the point and misunderstands why there has been so much publicity recently.

“In reality it’s about much more than him, it’s NOT personal, It’s about values and principles and the expectations of Powys residents.

 “The reality is these things happened at a time when Cllr Price was the Chair of Planning in Powys, thus to claim ignorance is not a defence, especially when it would be naturally expected that the Chair of such a committee would be aware of how things are done.

“It should also be borne in mind that these matters came to light as a result of others reporting them and not voluntarily. Is it any wonder therefore that Cllr Price is trying to silence his critics.

“Candidates from across the political spectrum, stood for Powys Council last year with a specific agenda of having a positive, dynamic, strategic thinking Powys which could be respected and moving away from an image of self-interest, self-serving and parochialism.

“That is why this matter is important and it's imperative that Powys Council is seen to listen.

“In view of the fact that more complaints about planning matters in Powys go to Dyfed Powys police than from any other authority, it is imperative that no opportunity is given to question the process within Powys.,

“Hence asking Cllr Price to move from planning to another committee and make a positive contribution there, many wise heads would state, was a wise move, and stops any questions or doubt and indeed would have resolved the matter months ago – but you need two to tango.

“May we suggest that some humility and apology would be more appropriate than intransigence and threatening those that scrutinise him.

“Questioning and challenging the actions of those in power is a key component of a democracy and attempts to silence that is a threat to our democracy.

“In view of the inability to get a local resolution, the matter has now been reported to the Public Services Ombudsman to resolve the matter.”

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