It is simple, so so simple yet he has failed to comply.
If a Councillor has a DPI to declare and fails to register it or participates in a meeting without dispensation, then under the Localism Act they will have committed a criminal offence punishable by a fine up to a maximum of £5,000.
So Cllr Goddard Chair of Planning at Folkestone & Hythe District Council has failed to inform the monitoring officer – Amandeep Khroud – within 28 days of his change of employment; which is a DPI.
Moving on, we note Cllr Goddard continues to use 24 Vinelands, Lydd, as his home address.
In late Sept, early Oct 2019, Cllr Goddard was formally interviewed by Kent Police under caution on suspicion of committing an offence under s65A (1a)(b) – False statement in nomination papers – Representation of the People’s Act 1983, at Folkestone Police Station.
In Mid Feb 2020, Kent Police wrote to Cllr Goddard and advised him in the strongest of terms that he is NOT entitled to refer to 24 Vinelands as his “home address“. Yet he persists in doing so.
Cllr Goddard was given a reasonable amount of time to change his address, but after seven months has failed to inform the monitoring officer that 24 Vineland is NOT his home address.
Cllr Goddard has more than enough time to change his address and his employment details and we fail to understand why he is in breach of his legal responsibilities.
Also the Council’s constitution Part 9 deals with the Code of Conduct for Councillors and makes it very clear Cllr Goddard should have informed the monitoring officer of these necessary changes to his register of interests.
Both sites are owned by Leo Griggs whose company is currently Cllr Goddard’s employer. So there is a clear case of conflict of interest and he ought to recuse himself and abstain from voting on both these matters.
We note with Item 5 planning application 20/0530/FH – 1 Radnor Park Road, Folkestone, Kent, CT19 5BW, there is no Viability assessment. Given the recent ruling in R (Holborn Studios) v London Borough of Hackney (No 2) Justice Dove states:
“Since then the National Planning Policy Framework had said that viability assessments should be ‘publicly available’ (para 57). The Planning Practice Guidance explained the need to publish the entire appraisals, other than in “exceptional circumstances” where an executive summary could be published, but still containing the ‘benchmark land value including the landowner premium’”.
The case goes onto say:
“Justice Dove endorsed the views of Cranston J in R(Joicey) v Northumberland County Council  EWHC 3657 (Admin), saying ‘the purpose of having a legal obligation to confer a right to know in relation to material underpinning a democratic decision-taking process is to enable members of the public to make well-informed observations on the substance of the decision’.
So given the fact a High Court judge has made it clear a Viability Assessment is published to allow members of the public “to make well-informed observations on the substance of the decision.” We have to ask why the Council’s planning department has not done so. They are NOT above the law.
We ask Cllr Goddard when he will change his register of interests as he must by law. We ask the Council if they are going to publish the Viability assessment for planning application 20/0530/FH – 1 Radnor Park Road, Folkestone, Kent, CT19 5BW, as they must.
Planning decisions are highly emotive; and Cllr Goddard’s failure to be open and transparent about the changes needed to his register of interests, gives rise to the plausible suspicion the planning system can be gamed.
Given all the facts sets out above: is Cllr Clive Goddard, Chairman of the Planning Committee of Folkestone & Hythe District Council committing a criminal offence at present?
We hope over the coming days, Cllr Goddard will make the necessary changes to his register of interests, as we are certain he doesn’t want his collar felt again by Kent Police.
The Shepway Vox Team
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