Councillor did not break code

It had been hoped to install a windfarm on land in the centre of the photo.
It had been hoped to install a windfarm on land in the centre of the photo.

A COUNCILLOR has been cleared of prejudicing a planning application following an investigation into a complaint received by Scarborough Council’s Standards Committee.

Dean Tulley had hoped to install a wind turbine on farmland at Scalby Hayes, off Barmoor Lane, and alleged that Cllr Derek Bastiman had hampered his application by commenting on it ahead of it going before the Planning Committee.

But, according to a ruling by the Standards Referrals Sub-Committee published this week, no further action will be taken.

The ruling stated: “In relation to the allegation that Cllr Bastiman had compromised, or attempted to compromise the impartiality of anyone who works for the authority, or on behalf of the authority, members considered the guidance to the code which stated that this referred to approaching or pressurising anyone who works for the authority to carry out their duties in a biased or partisan way.

“The Committee did not find any evidence that Cllr Bastiman had approached or pressurised any officer of the council so agreed that the threshold for evidence of a breach had not been reached.

“With regard to the second alleged breach that a Councillor must not conduct themselves in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing his or her office or authority into disrepute. Members noted that the code’s guidance suggests that this related to actions that may have an adverse impact on your office or authority including dishonest and deceitful behaviour.”

The report added that Cllr Bastiman’s comments on the number of objections were correct and it was noted that, while the statistics he had quoted may have been incorrect, he had not been deceitful if he reasonably believed these statistics to be correct.

It was also noted that Cllr Bastiman was not a member of the Planning Committee and therefore he did not use his position improperly because he could not vote on this application – he was speaking as a ward councillor not a portfolio holder.