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Dismay over guilt finding
6:00pm Sunday 22nd April 2012 in News
CALNE councillor Alan Hill said he was “disappointed” after being found guilty of bringing Wiltshire Council into disrepute.
The council’s standards sub-committee finally upheld a complaint made by Robert Willis against Coun Hill, 18 months after the incident took place.
Mr Willis claimed Coun Hill made inappropriate comments to him on a visit to the site of a house he planned to build in Quemerford, in September 2010.
He said he felt Coun Hill was taking sides with his neighbours Zoe Kelly – who has since become a town councillor – and her husband Ned, who opposed the plans.
The visit left Mr Willis concerned about the prospects of his controversial application being accepted by the northern area planning committee, of which Coun Hill is vice chair.
Mr Willis’s step-father is Councillor Tony Trotman, chair of the committee, and his interest in the application would mean he would have to step down during its deliberation, leaving Coun Hill in charge.
Coun Hill sent Mr Willis a letter of apology for any offence caused and Mr Willis left it six months before lodging a formal complaint.
Coun Hill then didn’t attend any of the following town and Wiltshire Council meetings in which the application was discussed. The plans were approved in January 2011.
After a year-long investigation, Coun Hill was found guilty of bringing the council into disrepute.
He was cleared of a charge of using his position to gain himself or others an advantage or disadvantage.
The Calne South and Cherhill representative said: “I am very disappointed Mr Willis has chosen to take this course of action. To the best of my knowledge no complaint has previously been made about my conduct.”
The standards committee decided to take no further action against Coun Hill.
It said this was because the investigation had been stressful enough and he had followed the correct procedures immediately after the meeting.