Friday, December 04, 2009

Another Tory Leader steps down after planning questions...

The Conservative Leader of a Lincolnshire Council has been forced to step down after a newspaper investigation into a planning matters.

Bernard Theobald is facing questions over a planning application to develop land he jointly purchased with another elected member of his controlling group.

The previous owner claims that before he sold the land, planning officers at West Lindsey District Council advised him that he wouldn't get planning permission for a development.

I knew Bernard some years ago when we were on opposing sides at Lincolnshire County Council.

He was one of the Conservatives who worked behind the scenes to remove Jim Speechley as Leader after he was accused of abusing his power by attempting to divert a bypass to improve the value of a parcel of land he owned.

Speechley ended up in prison of course.

When shamed Speechley was finally forced from the Leadership, Bernard attempted to take over but couldn't muster enough support among his Tory colleagues. They preferred someone close to Speechley as their new Leader - Bourne councillor Ian Croft.

Croft himself was eventually banned from office following a Standards Board inquiry and Bernard went on to lose his county seat at the next local electons!

A third Conservative member of Cllr Theobald's Conservative Group has reportedly admitted that he has met a West Lindsey planning officer who has been suspended pending an inquiry.

The final straw for Bernard seems to have been his own Deputy demanding his resignation!

You couldn't make it up.

UPDATE: A personal statement from Bernard Theobald appears on West Lindsey Council's website in which he denies any wrong-doing, blames the Lincolnshire Echo, and says he's passed their reports to his lawyers.

UPDATE 2: Just googled Bernard Theobald and the first page to appear on my screen is this from West Lindsey Council's own site which shows that as well as being Conservative Leader, Cllr Theobald was also chairman of a committee.

Yes, you've guessed it...the planning committee.

Watch this space...!

UPDATE 3: Cllr Theobald has been accused of being present at a secret meeting with a West Lindsey planning officer who was suspended at the time, pending an investigation.

How do we know...? The secret meeting has been reported by Cllr Theobald's Deputy Leader who was also at the meeting - which took place at his home.

That's the Deputy Leader who later called for Cllr Theobald to stand down and has since taken over the Leadership of the Council.

The plot thickens...

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