TWO Hartlepool councillors have been cleared of any wrongdoing after an investigation into their actions at a planning meeting for the new £300 Wynyard hospital.
Conservative group leader Councillor Ray Martin-Wells lodged the complaints against former independent member Keith Fisher and Geoff Lilley of Putting Hartlepool First.
Cllr Martin-Wells alleged they had breached the Council’s Code of Conduct during a vote on a planning application relating to the proposed hospital site at Wynyard Park at a planning committee meeting on February 19.
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It was alleged that Cllr Fisher had broken council rules by already predetermining how he intended to vote on the application.
The complaint was brought after Cllr Martin-Wells claimed Cllr Fisher had said at an event to launch the Hartlepool Vision project that he would never vote for a hospital at Wynyard.
An investigation was carried out by the council’s chief solicitor and an independent person.
The independent person involved also agreed with the chief solicitor’s findings that Cllr Fisher did not intend any prejudiced comments, although she acknowledged that it was a difficult distinction to make in many circumstances.
Cllr Martin-Wells also alleged that Cllr Lilley had influenced his Putting Hartlepool First group leader Cllr Keith Dawkins, who initially voted in favour of the hospital application then voted against it.
But the investigation found that neither the chairman or vice chairman of the planning committee nor other committee members questioned had heard what comments had passed between Cllrs Lilley and Dawkins during the alleged incident.
The investigation found Cllr Lilley’s actions did not characterise a breach of the council’s Code of Conduct.
It added that no evidence had been found to confirm that Cllrs Lilley or Dawkins had a prejudiced or pre-determined view of the planning application.