Tory failed to declare landowner was her friend and party colleague

Wendy Goodwin

Wendy Goodwin

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A HIGH-LEVEL investigation has been called for after a senior councillor voted in favour of developing land owned by a fellow Tory, without declaring their friendship.

Conservative Wendy Goodwin supported Castle Point’s new local plan, which designated 13 areas of land as major house building sites.

One of the sites – Reeds Hill Farm, in EssexWay, Benfleet – is owned by Jill Reeves, Conservative county councillor for Hadleigh, and her husband, Richard Reeves, 67.

An Echo probe has discovered Mrs Goodwin, a cabinet member, voted in favour of the local plan – and development of the land owned by Mrs Reeves – without making officials aware of their friendship.

Neville Watson, Canvey Island Independent Party councillor, has now demanded an urgent investigation by council officials following the vote at Castle Point’s full council on January 14.

He said: “Without a doubt, this should be properly investigated.

 

“The rules are there to ensure correct protocols are in place and if one of us did it, our feet would not touch the floor. It is conduct not becoming a cabinet member and there needs to be more than just a ticking off.”

The Echo asked Castle Point borough councillors who took part in the vote if they knew the owner of the site after being made aware it was owned by Mrs Reeves and her husband.

Echo:

Clear conscience: Jillian Reeves

Mrs Goodwin said: “I do know as I am a friend of the person. I would have declared it if it was just about the one site, but felt that we were voting in general for a draft strategy, so it did not need to be declared.”

Mrs Reeves, who is on the county council’s planning committee, and her husband, from Vicarage Hill, Benfleet, are set to profit from the five-acre green belt land after Linden Partnerships were given an option to buy it if planning permission for 35 homes there is approved.

Green belt land usually fetches £5,000 to £10,000 per acre, but last August the site, referred to as “land off the Glyders” in the plan, was valued at £1.5million, according to Land Registry deeds.

Andrew Smith, council monitoring officer, said Mrs Goodwin should have declared her interest and not taken part in the vote. After being advised by the Echo of the non-declaration, he said he warned Mrs Goodwin it should have been declared and she should now declare it at any future votes and not take part.

However, he denied it would have affected the outcome as it was won by a Tory majority of eight.

He also said he would only investigate further if an official complaint was made.

The Echo contacted all 41 borough councillors by e-mail asking if they knew who owned Reeds Hill Farm.

About 15 commented. Mrs Goodwin was the only one to admit she knew before the vote.

Echo: Over the moon – councillor Wendy Goodwin at the former care home in Beresford Close

Nothing to declare? Wendy Goodwin

Mrs Reeves said her conscience was clear.

The Tories have traditionally opposed any building on green belt, but recent changes by the Government have made it easier for developments on protected land to take place.

Mrs Reeves claimed she still held with the Conservative philosophy of safeguarding the countryside. She said: “I have fought to save green belt before.”

However, she argued the farm was “surplus to requirements”.

She said: “It has been put forward to the local plan since 2001.

This land has been in our family since the Sixties, it is of no use to us. We need to look where new homes can be built and if some starter homes can go on there that is all well and good. It is just a small piece of land.”

She understood why the public could be cynical about local politicians seeking to develop in their area, but said: “My conscience is clear.

“I am not on the borough council and have declared everything I have to to the county council.”

Asked for the tenant farmers’ view of developing the land, she added: “I don’t have the faintest.

He is probably pleased.”

Referring to the option deal with the developer, she added: “You will have to speak to my husband, he has been dealing with that.”

Meanwhile, residents have set up a group to fight development on the land.

Residents Against Glyders Expansion will hold a public meeting at the Moorings on the corner of High Road and Essex Way, Benfleet, on Thursday, at 7.30pm.

Robert Baily, chairman of the group, said the land had been left to grow and had created habitat for wildlife.

He is also concerned utility services in the area are stretched.

Some residents want more transparency over the local plan process in light of the revelations over ownership.

Karen Robinson, from Essex Way, said: “Perhaps it is worth people investigating who owns the other sites identified on the local plan and stands to benefit from the sale and development. I think this is in danger of becoming a real conflict of interest.”

Fellow Conservative councillors said they did not know who owned the land.

Tory councillor Tom Skipp said: “As far as I can recall, I am not aware of the ownership of the land in question, but I am confident that I do not have a prejudicial interest which would result in a conflict of interests that would make it impossible for me to take a balanced view.”

Tory council leader Pam Challis said: “Councillors were not made aware of any specific site owners.

“I have no interest to declare regarding land off Glyders.”

Conservative Eoin Egan added: “I do not know who owns this piece of land.”

Cabinet member Norman Smith, also a Tory, said: “Of course I know Jillian, but didn’t know it was her land.

“If I did I am still not sure I would have declared it, because it would not be prejudicial as I would not stand to gain from it.

“How far do you go with this?”

Tory cabinet member Ray Howard added: “I have known she had that land for years but did not declare it because I could not take part in the vote because of an interest I had to declare on the nursery.”

Comments (18)

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6:34am Wed 12 Mar 14

carnmountyouknowitmakessense says...

Now there's a surprise...not.
Corruption and bribes no doubt, have secured many an application, such as this..
Now there's a surprise...not. Corruption and bribes no doubt, have secured many an application, such as this.. carnmountyouknowitmakessense
  • Score: 24

6:54am Wed 12 Mar 14

peterscott1955 says...

Very similar situation in Rochford with a councillors family owning land designated for construction in green belt. To misquote Shakespeare, there is something rotten in the state if Essex
Very similar situation in Rochford with a councillors family owning land designated for construction in green belt. To misquote Shakespeare, there is something rotten in the state if Essex peterscott1955
  • Score: 22

9:05am Wed 12 Mar 14

Howard Cháse says...

Scandalous!
Scandalous! Howard Cháse
  • Score: 13

9:21am Wed 12 Mar 14

rayleigh123 says...

Another local politician with her head in the trough - i guess she will be resigning

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.
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Another local politician with her head in the trough - i guess she will be resigning . . . rayleigh123
  • Score: 14

9:35am Wed 12 Mar 14

boo beckett says...

If the majority of people have a problem with this then tough s##t! These con merchants get voted in every time because brainwashed morons 'always have voted Tory and always will'. You get what you deserve! Labour and Liberal are no different anymore either. They're all in it for themselves and each other. Your taxes are simply used to fill their troughs.
If the majority of people have a problem with this then tough s##t! These con merchants get voted in every time because brainwashed morons 'always have voted Tory and always will'. You get what you deserve! Labour and Liberal are no different anymore either. They're all in it for themselves and each other. Your taxes are simply used to fill their troughs. boo beckett
  • Score: 17

9:51am Wed 12 Mar 14

Kim Gandy says...

Politicians with their heads in the trough exist in ALL political parties.
Politicians with their heads in the trough exist in ALL political parties. Kim Gandy
  • Score: -6

10:20am Wed 12 Mar 14

iknowbetter says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
Politicians with their heads in the trough exist in ALL political parties.
Care to elaborate or at least back up your bold statement Kim. Come on name and shame or are you just assuming?
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: Politicians with their heads in the trough exist in ALL political parties.[/p][/quote]Care to elaborate or at least back up your bold statement Kim. Come on name and shame or are you just assuming? iknowbetter
  • Score: 4

11:54am Wed 12 Mar 14

andy:) says...

boo beckett wrote:
If the majority of people have a problem with this then tough s##t! These con merchants get voted in every time because brainwashed morons 'always have voted Tory and always will'. You get what you deserve! Labour and Liberal are no different anymore either. They're all in it for themselves and each other. Your taxes are simply used to fill their troughs.
I agree..too many people in the south east automatically vote tories year after year and end up with corrupt idiots or pointless wastes of space like David A-mess
[quote][p][bold]boo beckett[/bold] wrote: If the majority of people have a problem with this then tough s##t! These con merchants get voted in every time because brainwashed morons 'always have voted Tory and always will'. You get what you deserve! Labour and Liberal are no different anymore either. They're all in it for themselves and each other. Your taxes are simply used to fill their troughs.[/p][/quote]I agree..too many people in the south east automatically vote tories year after year and end up with corrupt idiots or pointless wastes of space like David A-mess andy:)
  • Score: 4

12:36pm Wed 12 Mar 14

iknowbetter says...

iknowbetter wrote:
Kim Gandy wrote:
Politicians with their heads in the trough exist in ALL political parties.
Care to elaborate or at least back up your bold statement Kim. Come on name and shame or are you just assuming?
A Tumble weed moment is it Kim.
[quote][p][bold]iknowbetter[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: Politicians with their heads in the trough exist in ALL political parties.[/p][/quote]Care to elaborate or at least back up your bold statement Kim. Come on name and shame or are you just assuming?[/p][/quote]A Tumble weed moment is it Kim. iknowbetter
  • Score: 1

12:58pm Wed 12 Mar 14

pembury53 says...

andy:) wrote:
boo beckett wrote: If the majority of people have a problem with this then tough s##t! These con merchants get voted in every time because brainwashed morons 'always have voted Tory and always will'. You get what you deserve! Labour and Liberal are no different anymore either. They're all in it for themselves and each other. Your taxes are simply used to fill their troughs.
I agree..too many people in the south east automatically vote tories year after year and end up with corrupt idiots or pointless wastes of space like David A-mess
can't argue with any of that, but i suspect the tories popularity will start to dip a bit when all those 1000's of new builds start going in ?
[quote][p][bold]andy:)[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]boo beckett[/bold] wrote: If the majority of people have a problem with this then tough s##t! These con merchants get voted in every time because brainwashed morons 'always have voted Tory and always will'. You get what you deserve! Labour and Liberal are no different anymore either. They're all in it for themselves and each other. Your taxes are simply used to fill their troughs.[/p][/quote]I agree..too many people in the south east automatically vote tories year after year and end up with corrupt idiots or pointless wastes of space like David A-mess[/p][/quote]can't argue with any of that, but i suspect the tories popularity will start to dip a bit when all those 1000's of new builds start going in ? pembury53
  • Score: 0

4:07pm Wed 12 Mar 14

profondo asbo says...

andy:) wrote:
boo beckett wrote:
If the majority of people have a problem with this then tough s##t! These con merchants get voted in every time because brainwashed morons 'always have voted Tory and always will'. You get what you deserve! Labour and Liberal are no different anymore either. They're all in it for themselves and each other. Your taxes are simply used to fill their troughs.
I agree..too many people in the south east automatically vote tories year after year and end up with corrupt idiots or pointless wastes of space like David A-mess
or could it be (and i'm just speculating here) they don't appreciate the country being left bankrupt by 13 years of labour (mis)rule. a fluke you think...if only. just look back to the previous labour administration before it.
[quote][p][bold]andy:)[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]boo beckett[/bold] wrote: If the majority of people have a problem with this then tough s##t! These con merchants get voted in every time because brainwashed morons 'always have voted Tory and always will'. You get what you deserve! Labour and Liberal are no different anymore either. They're all in it for themselves and each other. Your taxes are simply used to fill their troughs.[/p][/quote]I agree..too many people in the south east automatically vote tories year after year and end up with corrupt idiots or pointless wastes of space like David A-mess[/p][/quote]or could it be (and i'm just speculating here) they don't appreciate the country being left bankrupt by 13 years of labour (mis)rule. a fluke you think...if only. just look back to the previous labour administration before it. profondo asbo
  • Score: -4

4:21pm Wed 12 Mar 14

marshman says...

Cat's out the bag now and they all know who owns it (one of their colleagues) and that debars any of them from taking part in future votes on the matter. So what happens when so many members (all the tories) declare their interests and leave the council chamber? Who chairs the meeting and makes the decision? There has to be provision for members to decide matters when declaring interests leaves the council inquorate otherwise business grinds to a halt. Having said that it's clearly maladministration, no doubt of that. But has anyone checked to see if they or their respective partners are freemasons? There's an historic record of masonic manipulation in Castle Point and this fits the pattern imho (argue with the ombudsman not me if you disagree).
Cat's out the bag now and they all know who owns it (one of their colleagues) and that debars any of them from taking part in future votes on the matter. So what happens when so many members (all the tories) declare their interests and leave the council chamber? Who chairs the meeting and makes the decision? There has to be provision for members to decide matters when declaring interests leaves the council inquorate otherwise business grinds to a halt. Having said that it's clearly maladministration, no doubt of that. But has anyone checked to see if they or their respective partners are freemasons? There's an historic record of masonic manipulation in Castle Point and this fits the pattern imho (argue with the ombudsman not me if you disagree). marshman
  • Score: 1

4:22pm Wed 12 Mar 14

marshman says...

iknowbetter wrote:
Kim Gandy wrote: Politicians with their heads in the trough exist in ALL political parties.
Care to elaborate or at least back up your bold statement Kim. Come on name and shame or are you just assuming?
Mrs Reed's former boss at Chelmsford Lord Hanningfield?
[quote][p][bold]iknowbetter[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: Politicians with their heads in the trough exist in ALL political parties.[/p][/quote]Care to elaborate or at least back up your bold statement Kim. Come on name and shame or are you just assuming?[/p][/quote]Mrs Reed's former boss at Chelmsford Lord Hanningfield? marshman
  • Score: 5

5:10pm Wed 12 Mar 14

iknowbetter says...

marshman wrote:
iknowbetter wrote:
Kim Gandy wrote: Politicians with their heads in the trough exist in ALL political parties.
Care to elaborate or at least back up your bold statement Kim. Come on name and shame or are you just assuming?
Mrs Reed's former boss at Chelmsford Lord Hanningfield?
Same party, could also mention another, who was suspeneded for 8 weeks for a simliar incident, again Tory...
[quote][p][bold]marshman[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]iknowbetter[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: Politicians with their heads in the trough exist in ALL political parties.[/p][/quote]Care to elaborate or at least back up your bold statement Kim. Come on name and shame or are you just assuming?[/p][/quote]Mrs Reed's former boss at Chelmsford Lord Hanningfield?[/p][/quote]Same party, could also mention another, who was suspeneded for 8 weeks for a simliar incident, again Tory... iknowbetter
  • Score: 1

6:02pm Wed 12 Mar 14

marshman says...

Baroness Smith of Basildon (Labour)
David Laws (LibDem)
Stewart Jackson (Tory)

Can't be fairer than that.
Baroness Smith of Basildon (Labour) David Laws (LibDem) Stewart Jackson (Tory) Can't be fairer than that. marshman
  • Score: 3

6:04pm Wed 12 Mar 14

upset says...

iknowbetter wrote:
marshman wrote:
iknowbetter wrote:
Kim Gandy wrote: Politicians with their heads in the trough exist in ALL political parties.
Care to elaborate or at least back up your bold statement Kim. Come on name and shame or are you just assuming?
Mrs Reed's former boss at Chelmsford Lord Hanningfield?
Same party, could also mention another, who was suspeneded for 8 weeks for a simliar incident, again Tory...
What about Spinky, he has been in most parties, then there is Tony Bliar bombed loads of innocent people with Bush, left the treasury empty and since then lined his pocket by touring the world saying how wonderful he is.
[quote][p][bold]iknowbetter[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]marshman[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]iknowbetter[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: Politicians with their heads in the trough exist in ALL political parties.[/p][/quote]Care to elaborate or at least back up your bold statement Kim. Come on name and shame or are you just assuming?[/p][/quote]Mrs Reed's former boss at Chelmsford Lord Hanningfield?[/p][/quote]Same party, could also mention another, who was suspeneded for 8 weeks for a simliar incident, again Tory...[/p][/quote]What about Spinky, he has been in most parties, then there is Tony Bliar bombed loads of innocent people with Bush, left the treasury empty and since then lined his pocket by touring the world saying how wonderful he is. upset
  • Score: -4

6:10pm Wed 12 Mar 14

iknowbetter says...

upset wrote:
iknowbetter wrote:
marshman wrote:
iknowbetter wrote:
Kim Gandy wrote: Politicians with their heads in the trough exist in ALL political parties.
Care to elaborate or at least back up your bold statement Kim. Come on name and shame or are you just assuming?
Mrs Reed's former boss at Chelmsford Lord Hanningfield?
Same party, could also mention another, who was suspeneded for 8 weeks for a simliar incident, again Tory...
What about Spinky, he has been in most parties, then there is Tony Bliar bombed loads of innocent people with Bush, left the treasury empty and since then lined his pocket by touring the world saying how wonderful he is.
And the sad thing is they all get away with it..
[quote][p][bold]upset[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]iknowbetter[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]marshman[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]iknowbetter[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: Politicians with their heads in the trough exist in ALL political parties.[/p][/quote]Care to elaborate or at least back up your bold statement Kim. Come on name and shame or are you just assuming?[/p][/quote]Mrs Reed's former boss at Chelmsford Lord Hanningfield?[/p][/quote]Same party, could also mention another, who was suspeneded for 8 weeks for a simliar incident, again Tory...[/p][/quote]What about Spinky, he has been in most parties, then there is Tony Bliar bombed loads of innocent people with Bush, left the treasury empty and since then lined his pocket by touring the world saying how wonderful he is.[/p][/quote]And the sad thing is they all get away with it.. iknowbetter
  • Score: 4

9:34pm Wed 12 Mar 14

marshman says...

upset wrote:
iknowbetter wrote:
marshman wrote:
iknowbetter wrote:
Kim Gandy wrote: Politicians with their heads in the trough exist in ALL political parties.
Care to elaborate or at least back up your bold statement Kim. Come on name and shame or are you just assuming?
Mrs Reed's former boss at Chelmsford Lord Hanningfield?
Same party, could also mention another, who was suspeneded for 8 weeks for a simliar incident, again Tory...
What about Spinky, he has been in most parties, then there is Tony Bliar bombed loads of innocent people with Bush, left the treasury empty and since then lined his pocket by touring the world saying how wonderful he is.
Agreed.
[quote][p][bold]upset[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]iknowbetter[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]marshman[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]iknowbetter[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: Politicians with their heads in the trough exist in ALL political parties.[/p][/quote]Care to elaborate or at least back up your bold statement Kim. Come on name and shame or are you just assuming?[/p][/quote]Mrs Reed's former boss at Chelmsford Lord Hanningfield?[/p][/quote]Same party, could also mention another, who was suspeneded for 8 weeks for a simliar incident, again Tory...[/p][/quote]What about Spinky, he has been in most parties, then there is Tony Bliar bombed loads of innocent people with Bush, left the treasury empty and since then lined his pocket by touring the world saying how wonderful he is.[/p][/quote]Agreed. marshman
  • Score: -3

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