Thursday, 26 June 2014

Complaint lodged over councillor's alleged non-disclosure of interest in planning application

Local resident Roger Brown has lodged a Corporate Complaint with Fional Ledden, Brent Council's Legal Officer regarding Cllr Ruth Moher which may be on interest to readers aware of recent local planning controversies.

The complaint reads:
I am writing to you in line with your Corporate Complaints Policy regarding complaints about councillors.

The complaint is with regard to planning case 13/2961 (Wembley High Technology College) and her involvement with this together with her lack of disclosure with regard to being both a Governor and Company Director of W.H.T.C  - particularly with regard to the planning meeting of 12th February 2014. 

Both Mrs Moher and Mr Jim Moher are Directors and Governors of WHTC and I believe as such there was a clear breach of Brent's Constitution (and a clear conflict of interests) under the Planning Code of Practice. Their involvement in this particular case and the non disclosure of both of their interests in the register of councillors interests (Brent Council's web site shows there are no such disclosures with regard to this case). Both councillors were in fact listed as first alternates (as listed in the Public Information pack for the supplementary planning committee) and Mrs Moher was allowed to speak at length at the meeting after again failing to disclose her interests. It was pointed out by someone as she spoke that she was a Governor and should not be speaking but she was allowed to continue. In contrast Councillor Singh, a local resident, declared his interests at the start and left the room, taking no part in the meeting.

I have asked Brent Council for a copy of any recording or transcript of this meeting but was told that none existed and was sent the minutes for this meeting instead, which is a poor representation of the meeting itself. I cannot understand why you decide not to record these meeting for which the decisions play a vital part in the lives of the people they blight and affect.

If this situation had take place with an application of a private individual instead of a public body I'm sure, rightly, questions would surely be asked but because it is a council project I believe that all issues with regard to this contentious application appear to be attempted to be swept under the carpet. 

I will also be raising the matter of another WHTC planning application to the council (13/1775) for the failure to disclose information paramount to the case, therefore allowing it to pass unopposed. With this I refer to the reason for the MUGA being built being that of the subsequent planning application 13/2961 as this built upon land  occupied by the current MUGA and no residents were aware of it at this stage due to the council and schools lack of residents consultation in February 2013. The council abjectly still claims that residents were consulted but cannot state to which houses they delivered the notices to, which is frankly laughable.

I would ask to to look into this as a matter of urgency and I will also raise the matter with the Local Government Ombudsman and ask the DFE to conduct a thorough review of this case.



6 comments:

  1. Ah, the Mohers, architects with others of the now-infamous LTP - Library Transformation Project.

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  2. The LTP - which has created an oversubscribed mega-library in a Civic Centre now seeking commercial tenants for its top two empty floors! What a mess - not to mention the ongoing police investigation in to Kensal Rise Library.

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  3. 'It is important for those in a leadership position, including members, to avoid inappropriate conduct in conflict of interest situations' (Executive summary, Brent Anti-fraud and Bribery policy, June 2013.

    The apparent failure of Mrs Moher to disclose her connections with Wembley High Technology College (WHTC) at a planning meeting on 12th February this year seems also to be in breach of that policy. Failure to disclose her links with WHTC surely constitutes 'inappropriate behaviour'?

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  4. I'm surprised there aren't more comments on this blog - failure to register interests which might be material to planning is a particularly serious matter - planning committee is a quasi-legal entity. I believe Mr Moher has a reputation as a bit of a bully. Is it possible this has deterred people from commenting, even anonymously?

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  5. Get West London has latest on Roger Brown's complaint

    http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/local-news/complaint-over-whether-brent-councillor-7361130#.U7UOZLZqprM.twitter

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  6. Who really cares? If she had declared her interest it probably wouldn't have changed anything Brent do what they like anyway. who is the mugger?

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