AN independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the allocation of a charity-run property to a Pendle councillor has been called for.
Thursday night’s full council meeting decided on this course of action following a debate sparked by a question asked by BNP town councillor John Rowe and a motion put forward by his party colleague and Marsden Ward councillor Brian Parker which queried how Coun. Kathleen Shore had acquired the tenancy of a property run by the William Walton and the Mancknols Walton Cottage Homes in Nelson.
The motion by Coun. Parker called for powers vested in the two charities to be transferred from the area committee to the full council and for the current trustees to resign, but this failed to find a seconder.
In the run up to May’s council elections, BNP leaflets circulating both in Marsden Ward and further afield in Pendle alleged that Coun. Shore’s position as a councillor had had some influence on her being allocated the property.
A majority of members on the charity’s board of trustees are present or past Labour councillors.
During Coun. Parker’s speech, Labour members banged their fists on the tables in the council chamber and Coun. Mohammed Iqbal told members how Coun. Parker had been a trustee of the charity in the past but had stood down last year following the appointment of Coun. Nadeem Ahmed to the panel, saying he would not serve with another Asian heritage councillor.
“His party colleague, then Coun. Adam Grant, said he was prepared to serve but he was pressured into standing down by Coun. Parker,” said Coun. Iqbal, who called for the independent investigation.
Supporting that call, Coun. Tony Greaves said there was no evidence in front of councillors for them to make a decision, but the allegation that Labour representatives had used their position to acquire a property for one of their councillors was a serious one which needed to be resolved.
A report will be presented to the council once the investigation has been carried out.