Fenland’s suspended planning chief apparently says March is too far for him to get to as he “resigns” his �65,000 post

FIRST he was suspended for undisclosed allegations of gross misconduct but today it emerged Fenland Council’s planning chief Derek McKenzie has “resigned” because he lives too far away.

Mr McKenzie was suspended on full pay from his �65,000 a year job as head of development services a fortnight after describing to a Cambridge conference how Fenland had “ ripped up the guide book” to create a fast, fluent and flexible approach to planning.

No explanation was about the allegations but Mr McKenzie insisted on fighting them through internal meetings which have now culminated in his apparent decision to “resign”.

Sharon Smith, a member support officer, has emailed the explanation to the Fenland Development Forum – a body which includes local architects and estate agent.

She told the 20 members that “as you are aware, Derek McKenzie has been away from work for some time now.

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“As such Derek has recently been in touch to advise that due to the distance between work and his home in the North of England, he is unable to continue and has therefore felt it necessary to resign.”

Her email adds that “the council recognises Derek’s contribution and work in his short time with us and wishes him the best of luck with his future career.”

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Interim management changes have been explained to forum members with enhanced roles for planning officers Alison Callaby and Graham Nourse.

She also revealed the council has “agreed to continue and expand” the partnership staffing arrangement with Peterborough City Council whose group manager strategic planning officer Richard Kay will have a line management role at Fenland Hall.

Mr McKenzie had completed six months service with Fenland Council and had told friends he was confident of being cleared of any allegations of wrong doing.

He joined the council from Nakheel of Dubai where he was head of planning and business excellence.

The United Arab Emirates company builds hotels, shops and homes and created the Palm Juneirah dubbed the ‘eighth wonder of the world’.

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