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Wokingham Lib Dems report Tory Leader to Standards Board

August 4, 2004 12:00 AM

Councillor Coling Lawley (Leader of the Wokingham District Council Lib Dem Councillor Group) has reported Frank Browne (Tory Leader of the Council) to the Standards Board for England. The Standards Board for England is responsible for promoting high ethical standards and investigating allegations that Councillors' behaviour may have fallen short of the required standards.

Frank Browne has taken employment with Green Issues, a company that actively promotes large scale and contentious housing developments. Green Issues is employed by a housing developer who wants to build 450 houses on contaminated land at Sandford Farm in Woodley.

Coling Lawley says, "I can't believe that Frank Browne has chosen to work for a company that is involved in such a contentious planning application in Woodley. It is also unbelievable that Frank thinks his job will not conflict with being Leader of the Council.

"Frank told the Council Meeting last Thursday (29th July) that he has no intention of resigning as Leader. As Leader of the Council, he is involved in, and responsible for, all the Council's decisions and policy formulation. In my opinion it is impossible to separate his work interests from his Council interests, and I have concerns that he won't be able to lead the Council properly. Many residents have told me they don't believe Frank can be totally unbiased about housing development applications in the future.

"As a result, I have reported him to the Standards Board so that we can have a proper and independent ruling on this."

A previous complaint to the Standards Board alleging that Frank Browne attempted to influence members of the Development Control committee regarding a planning application was not upheld.