Councillor suspended over planning influence allegations

PUBLISHED: 16:15 11 March 2013 | UPDATED: 12:57 22 March 2013

Cllr Graham Brown. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 9639-07-11SH

Cllr Graham Brown. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 9639-07-11SH

Archant

A councillor alleged to have influenced planning decisions has been suspended by the East Devon Conservatives who said he has brought 'disrepute' on himself and the party.

Graham Brown has also been removed as Member Champion for Business and Tourism on East Devon District Council (EDDC) as an investigation into this morning’s revelations by The Telegraph gets underway.

The Feniton and Buckerell representative, who also runs a planning consultancy firm, was secretly filmed insinuating he could influence local planning decisions.

Conservative leader Paul Diviani said he had tarred ‘other members with an unpleasant brush’.

Cllr Diviani, who is also EDDC leader, said: “I and other members feel that Cllr Brown has brought himself, the party and council in to disrepute with his comments, and even though his interest as a planning consultant has been declared this does not excuse the remarks he made.”

The district council said it was unaware of Cllr Brown ‘having any improper influence on the planning process’, but said it will look into the allegations

Cllr Diviani said: “This was not conduct becoming of a Conservative Party member, and as such I think it is only appropriate to suspend Cllr Brown from the Party and seek a resolution from members that he should no longer be welcome as a representative of the East Devon Conservative Group.”

He confirmed the group is set to meet on Wednesday, March 20, and may ratify proposals to remove Cllr Brown from the party.

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