Report Date

11/08/2021

Case Against

Vale of Glamorgan Council

Subject

Integrity

Case Reference Number

202003631

Outcome

Referred to Standards Committee

The Ombudsman received a complaint that a Member (“the Member”) of Vale of Glamorgan Council (“the Council”) and Barry Town Council (“the Town Council”), and the Council’s Planning Committee, had breached the Code of Conduct for Members by opening a coffee shop and wine bar without the correct change of use planning permission being in place.

The Ombudsman’s investigation found that the Member had been a joint director of the coffee shop and wine bar, and the business had opened before the Member’s change of use planning application was decided (in breach of planning control). The Ombudsman’s investigation also found that when a potential breach of the Code of Conduct regarding the situation was brought to the Member’s attention, the Member immediately resigned as a director and had no further involvement in the business. The Ombudsman concluded that, as a member of the Council’s Planning Committee, the Member had sufficient knowledge of relevant planning matters to understand the importance of adhering to planning regulations, and the Member should have considered his position, and sought advice about his role, before opening the business without correct planning permission.

The Ombudsman found that the Member’s conduct could reasonably be regarded as behaviour which might bring the office of Member of the Council into disrepute and was therefore suggestive of a breach of 6(1)(a) of the Code of Conduct. The Ombudsman referred his investigation report to the Monitoring Officer of Vale of Glamorgan Council for consideration by its Standards Committee.

The Standards Committee of Vale of Glamorgan Council determined that the Member had breached 6(1)(a) of the Code of Conduct and suspended him for 1 month.