Fenland councillor to ‘stand trial’ after inquiry concluded he breached code of conduct

DESPITE having gone a year without a complaint Fenland District Council has begun 2012 by deciding to launch a top level probe into allegations against one of its most senior members.

Councillor Pop Jolley, chairman of the influential overview and scrutiny panel, will effectively be required to ‘stand trial’ by the council’s standards committee.

Details of a 140-page probe undertaken by an ‘investigating officer’ have not been made public but an outline of the allegations against Cllr Jolley has been released.

The case revolves around a complaint made on April 15 last year by a Mr Daniels of Manea that on January 17 Cllr Jolley “failed to declare a personal and prejudicial interest in a matter at a meeting of Manea Parish Council”.

The allegation centres on pre-application discussions for a proposed development on land owned by Cllr Jolley.

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An initial assessment committee referred the matter to Fenland Council’s monitoring officer and an outside solicitor, Stephen Pearson of Freeth Cartwright LLP, was given the task of completing an inquiry.

That inquiry, “which members agreed should remain confidential”, concluded that Cllr Jolley had breached the council’s code of conduct.

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The standards committee has decided a ‘determination hearing’ will decide what, if any, sanction to apply. It could merely rebuke Cllr Jolley, dismiss the charges or suspend him.

Ironically, such is Cllr Jolley’s popularity that despite coming off the council for some years following his unexplained resignation as deputy leader nearly seven years ago he stood last May unopposed.

He is the ward member for Wimblington and defeated village businesswoman Amanda Carlin to the nomination.

The wealthy former farmer and developer described himself to voters as being “very passionate about the area”. He is a former Wimblington Parish Council chairman and for 12 years – since it opened - he has chaired Parkfield Sports.

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