22nd Nov, 2019

Investigation 'has cleared my name'

Malvern Editorial 29th Apr, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

THE LEADER of Malvern Hills District Council believes his name has been ‘totally cleared’ after police decided to take no further action following allegations made by a town residents’ group.

An investigation was launched after Alfrick and Lusley Residents’ Group (ALRG) issued a formal complaint to officers in relation to a planning application for Blue Shot meadow, which they believed would benefit an application submitted for a development on land owned by David Hughes, leader of MHDC.

Proposals, by Greenlight Developments, to build 21 homes on the Clay Green Farm site were then thrown out by the council’s planning committee in February, after the Northern Area Committee had referred the application due to ‘sensitivity issues’.

A police spokeswoman said: “As previously confirmed, West Mercia Police received a letter of complaint in connection with a planning matter being dealt with by a local council and did look into the matter to establish if there had been any breeches of the law.

“One person was interviewed on a voluntary basis under caution.

“We can now confirm our investigation is complete and no police action will be taken.”

On the back of the police investigation, a spokesman at the district council has now said they will review their own internal investigation which took place.

Mr Hughes, Conservative candidate for Alfrick and Leigh, said: “I have been informed by West Mercia Police that it is taking no action against me and I consider my name and reputation to be totally cleared.

“The complaint was a result of unsubstantiated allegations made to them alleging failures to declare Disclosable Pecuniary interests at a meeting of the Northern Area Planning Committee in the summer of 2014.

“I find it disappointing people objecting to a planning application go to such great lengths to try and undermine the normal process of the council and its committees, dealt with in a right and proper manner, by distributing unfounded and damaging falsehoods.

“I have been a hard-working district councillor for many years representing Alfrick and Leigh ward and play a significant part in the local community.

“This episode has been a tremendous waste of valuable police resources and public money and I hope that those who led this campaign against me will now cease their underhand tactics to undermine the democratic process and let the voters have their say on May 7.”

However, David Flanagan, of ALRG, has said new complaints have been made and the group will be meeting with officers to discuss the investigation.

“ALRG are aware of fresh allegations from district councillors and Alfrick residents, not previously spoken to by the police and which relate to Hughes’ conduct,” he added.

“ALRG believe the police will be obliged to investigate these matters.”

When The Observer contacted police to ask whether any fresh complaints had been lodged, a spokeswoman from West Mercia said they were no longer investigating this matter, but added: “Any other information brought to our attention would be considered as a matter of course.”

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