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Bodmin town councillor resignations over land deal just 'a silly row'

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: October 19, 2012

HAPPIER TIMES:   Former mayors Michelle Griffiths and Linda Spear have resigned from the council over a land deal.

HAPPIER TIMES: Former mayors Michelle Griffiths and Linda Spear have resigned from the council over a land deal.

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TWO former mayors of Bodmin have resigned from the town council after a furious row over alleged breaches of local government rules.

Linda Spear and Michelle Griffiths claim proper procedures were not carried out when land in Dennison Road changed hands.

The council owned a small parcel of land which once housed a bus shelter, but which was required by the developer of a new pay-and-display car park.

An agreement was reached to exchange that land with another piece owned by West End Motors nearer to a bus lay-by.

However, Mrs Spear and Mrs Griffiths say the deal should never have been struck because it went through without the full authority of the town council.

Mrs Spear demanded an investigation, but the council refused to carry one out.

After what the council described as "a robust exchange of views", both councillors handed in their resignations.

Mrs Spear, who served as a councillor for 22 years and was twice elected mayor, said: "Michelle and I believe the council has not adhered to local government rules regarding financial regulations, unauthorised activity within standing orders, the code of conduct and anti-fraud and corruption policy.

"The decision (to exchange the land) should not have been taken without the authority of full council, yet it has been minuted that one councillor was solely responsible for making the land transfer decision.

"I simply couldn't stay on the council because if I had, I would be part of a council which had allowed these serious breaches in policy and procedures to happen. Michelle, a councillor for 11 years, feels exactly the same.

"I was always proud to serve on Bodmin Town Council and serve the people of the town, and to leave is heart-wrenching, but neither of us could carry on."

The council said its newly-acquired pocket of land would better serve residents, as it could be used to erect a bus shelter next to the bus lay-by on Dennison Road.

Mayor Ken Stubbs said he was disappointed the two councillors had resigned.

"I'm sorry they've chosen to leave because Linda and Michelle have served this council well and have been a real asset to the town," he said, "but I'm also disappointed they've chosen to do so now as we could face a costly election in the coming months on top of next May's local council elections."

Town councillor Phil Kerridge described the affair as "a silly row".

"Michelle and Linda leaving the council ought to be a time for gratitude and celebration of their outstanding service," he said.

"Unfortunately, they're going after a silly row. You can barely swing a cat in these two bits of land and why this has provoked so much animosity I have no idea.

"I hope time will prove to be a healer so two significant players in Bodmin's recent history get the recognition they deserve."

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  • Pinkfun  |  October 27 2012, 6:11PM

    Brian Cook of Westend motors and Armtrac Security Services according to this website: http://tinyurl.com/34x6usl I'm sure Brian Cook said jump and they said how high!

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  • JeremyBadger  |  October 24 2012, 12:41AM

    Obviously Cllr Kerridge does not agree that the council has not adhered to local government rules regarding financial regulations, unauthorised activity within standing orders, the code of conduct and anti-fraud and corruption policy. Perhaps we should keep our eye on Cllr Kerridge and his cronies as he clearly does not agree with democracy and transparency on Bodmin Town Council, lets hope that the electorate remember this next May when he next comes begging for votes.

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  • youngcornwall  |  October 20 2012, 4:55PM

    "Related to these women by any chance? young cornwall" No, I don't think so anyway lol. If I may say so you seem to be a little too preoccupied with the messengers and not the message that these two have brought into the public domain. It should be very interesting to know what else has been passed with just a nod or a wink, if anything.

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  • kingofkernow  |  October 20 2012, 12:36PM

    Related to these women by any chance? young cornwall I applaud accountable decisions by paid officers. If the deal is found to be not in the interests of Bodmin, then let the person who made the decision be held to account and financially responsible. Local government needs more decisive actions and less hot air!!!

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  • youngcornwall  |  October 20 2012, 9:32AM

    "Your article forgets to mention that these 2 women are mother and daughter !" This shouldn't detract from the seriousness of this topic in anyway, I cannot see what relevance it has to do with anything.

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  • kingofkernow  |  October 19 2012, 10:10PM

    Your article forgets to mention that these 2 women are mother and daughter ! The land swap in question involves the area of land where a shelter used to stand that was away from the layby and meant you would not be at the front of the queue when the bus turned up. It was seldom used. I believe the other area of land is directly behind the actual layby, chances are the new shelter will be used when it is built. I want to find the official who single handedly did this deal so I can shake their hand...."comonsense in local government", never thought I would see the day ! What local government needs is less selfserving people who don't work, and more employed people giving up a few hours a week for the benefit of their community.

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  • twain  |  October 19 2012, 9:45AM

    Totally agree, there must be complete transparency with land transactions. The public are cynical of councillors motives due to countrywide cases of corruption involving land deals and it's arrogant and ignorant to call it a silly row. Mrs Spear and Mrs Griffiths restore my faith that some councillors still have honour and principles.

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  • youngcornwall  |  October 19 2012, 9:19AM

    "Unfortunately, they're going after a silly row. You can barely swing a cat in these two bits of land and why this has provoked so much animosity I have no idea." More than "a silly row" I would have thought, someone should be held accountable for this underhanded way of running things.

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