Warning for ex-Wymondham mayor who breached council code of conduct
18:50 12 September 2012
A former mayor of Wymondham received an official warning today after an investigation found that he had breached a council’s code of conduct.
Neil Ward, who is a Wymondham Town Councillor and South Norfolk Councillor, issued an apology at a standards hearing after it was found that he had failed to declare a prejudicial interest in a housing development near his home in Wymondham.
The South Norfolk Council standards committee heard that the Conservative councillor had failed to declare an interest at a town council meeting regarding an application for 750 new homes in Rightup Lane, Wymondham, despite the site adjoining his property in Silfield Road.
An investigation found that Mr Ward had breached Wymondham Town Council’s code of conduct when a planning, lighting and highways committee discussed the scheme on April 3.
The standards committee recommended that the councillor, who was Wymondham mayor at the time, should be reprimanded by the town council. However, they recommended that no further action should take place as Mr Ward had received extra training on standards and planning issues following the incident.
Mr Ward apologised for the “human error” and he had learnt from the mistake.
He told the hearing: “During that year I was mayor and I was under an awful lot of pressure in all sorts of guises. I have made a genuine mistake and I apologise for that.”
The standards committee deemed that the councillor had not personally benefited from his failure to declare an interest in the planning matter. The complaint about his conduct was made by Wymondham resident Mike Heard, who attended the planning meeting on April 3.
Wymondham Town Councillors recommended the homes plan for refusal because of drainage concerns and because the scheme was outside the town’s development boundary.
South Norfolk Councillors are set to discuss the homes plan at a meeting later this month.