Tory councillor suspended over planning dispute

By staff

A Tory councillor has been suspended for six months for bringing his office into disrepute.

Bill Sharp, a councillor in Castle Point borough council, allegedly failed to tell council officials of his friendship with multi-millionaire Gordon Sanders, and Susan King, director of construction company Pemican.

A former member of the planning committee, Cllr Sharp attended meetings relating to a planning application from both developers in 2007.

A statement from Castle Point borough council yesterday, following a hearing of the local standards committee, said Cllr Sharp “had sought to secure a personal advantage for himself or others concerning planning permissions”.

It found against Cllr Sharp in several other respects as well.

“Cllr Sharp had made comments to the media and others showing a clear lack of respect to Mr Ian Burchill, a senior council manager,” the statement read.

He was also criticised for carrying out “a campaign of bullying Mr Ian Burchill”, having “intimidated Mr Ian Burchill” and failing to follow advice from the monitoring officer.

David Marchant, chief executive of Castle Point council, said: “These were serious allegations against an experienced councillor involving a range of unacceptable behaviour.

“The local standards committee has ordered that the councillor be suspended for six months.”