... but Lib Dems stand firm

PUBLISHED: 12:28 27 April 2007 | UPDATED: 22:46 28 May 2010

CHRIS  HOWES

CHRIS HOWES

COUNCILLOR Chris Howes, who in next week s elections will be fighting to retain his seat on Chatteris Town Council and win a seat on Fenland District Council for the Liberal Democrats, is dissatisfied with Cllr Geoff Harper s reply about Section 106 agree

COUNCILLOR Chris Howes, who in next week's elections will be fighting to retain his seat on Chatteris Town Council and win a seat on Fenland District Council for the Liberal Democrats, is dissatisfied with Cllr Geoff Harper's reply about Section 106 agreements, and with other answers to issues he has raised.

He said he wrote to Cllr Harper on June 15 about non-collection of Section 106 money on Royal Retreat Estate, Chatteris, by Persimmon Homes. Cllr Harper replied on June 30 stating he had checked with the chief executive and no Section 106 money was due to the council.

Cllr Howes added that despite numerous letters Cllr Harper has never explained that reply.

Cllr Howes said he visited the then chairman of the council's overview and scrutiny committee who chose to investigate the matter and he believes she was sacked from the chairmanship as a direct result of the investigation she initiated.

And he claims Section 106 money now being collected is still only dribbling through to the communities where it belongs.

Explaining his allegation that the council 'lost' £17million last year, he said he contacted Matt Taylor, the council's finance director, who explained that the revenue account had paid out £17million more than it had received. The officer offered no clarification or reason for this.

And as for £1million being paid to the council's top employees, Cllr Howes said: "You may be satisfied that runaway salary increases are justified. Neither we nor the public are."

He stands by his assertion that the council does not publish councillors' e-mail addresses. These addresses were not listed on the council's website and "when I phoned and asked I've been told that I can't be given the e-mail address because of the Data Protection Act".

On the question of the three-bin refuse collection scheme, which he claims was "foisted upon us without proper consultation", he said the fortnightly collection of the green bin is deeply unpopular.

He insists he is correct that occupiers of band C properties in Fenland pay nearly 50 per cent more than those in Huntingdon and East Cambs.

And he still wonders why, despite Cllr Harper promising that the video recording of the last council meeting would appear on the website uncut, it has never been seen.

He said he and others remember Cllr Harper saying that it would.

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