Labour demands Castle Hill apology after councillors are cleared over Thandi meeting
LABOUR councillors last night demanded an apology after they were cleared of any wrongdoing over a controversial planning issue.
The four party members, and one Conservative, met the Thandi brothers earlier this year to discuss the businessmen’s proposal to build a pub at Castle Hill.
Tory business manager Clr Christine Smith reported the four Labour councillors to the Kirklees Standards Board, claiming they had breached planning protocols by holding an unofficial meeting without informing Kirklees Council officers.
But the watchdog has now cleared Kirklees leader Clr Mehboob Khan, Cabinet member for regeneration Clr Peter McBride and Greenhead Labour members Clr Mohan Sokhal and Clr Judith Hughes.
The Standards Board found that: “the Planning Protocol does provide for informal consultations to take place with potential applicants without officers present”.
Clr Khan said the group had done nothing wrong by meeting Mick and Barry Thandi at the Sikh Leisure Centre on February 13.
“Among the many roles carried out by elected members, it is our duty to meet with local people and discuss important issues that may impact on our communities,” he said.
“In this case we were approached by local businessmen and we were happy to give useful and informal advice. Our meeting was entirely within all council protocols.
“Local people expect councillors to work with businesses throughout the district, from small traders to large national companies, as we always aim to attract investment into the area and to support the Kirklees economy at this difficult financial time.”