Ottery dog field duo complaints dropped by EDDC

LOCAL authority watchdogs will not pursue complaints levelled against Ottery s mayor and his deputy over their involvement in the town s canine wrangle.

LOCAL authority watchdogs will not pursue complaints levelled against Ottery's mayor and his deputy over their involvement in the town's canine wrangle.

Councillors Glyn Dobson and Ian Holmes were accused of bringing Ottery town council into disrepute by breaching its code of conduct.

It was claimed both took part in discussions over the Winters Lane dog-ban and a subsequent site meeting there, while having an alleged "prejudicial interest" in the matter. Both councillors live near the field.

The sub-committee of East Devon District Council's (EDDC) standards authority last week ruled that while it was "not appropriate" cllrs Dobson and Holmes attended a site meeting on July 7, there was "insufficient evidence" that either had broken any other conduct rules.

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Both councillors will receive standards training and no further action will be taken.

An EDDC spokesperson said: "The sub-committee considered that because the possible variation of dog control arrangements on the Winters Lane field had resulted in a high level of public interest and controversy, it was not appropriate for cllrs Dobson and Holmes to have taken part in the site meeting, because of the proximity of their homes to the playing field and the potential public perception of this involvement.

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This raised a potential breach of the code of conduct whereby councillors must not conduct themselves in a manner that could reasonably be regarded as bringing their office or authority into disrepute.

There was, however, insufficient evidence to suggest a potential breach of any of the other paragraphs of the code. Further, even if the two councillors had had a prejudicial interest, the Ottery (town council) code of conduct would not prevent them giving their views.

Mr Dobson and Mr Holmes did not vote on the matter when it was discussed by the town council on June 6.

The spokesman added: "Members felt the nature of the complaint and the level of its potential seriousness, the public interest in conducting an investigation did not justify the costs of the investigation.

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