A council leader is being investigated by police over an allegation he participated in a vote to close a public toilet, despite having an interest in the buildings next door. Weymouth and Portland councillor Jeff Cant took part in a council meeting and vote to shut the building in Weymouth in September last year.His company owns two buildings next door which each have business space with flats above.Mr Cant denies any wrongdoing.The toilet building was sold for £282,000 to a couple from Buckinghamshire in August after councillors decided it was too costly to maintain.Mr Cant made a declaration in his Register of Members’ Interests that he has interest in property in Bond Street.He is a director of Silversurfing Limited – the company that owns the two buildings adjacent to the former conveniences.However, rules introduced by the Localism Act of 2011 state that interests should be declared and councillors should sit out of such meetings unless they have a dispensation.
In a statement, Mr Cant said: “My interest in the company owning property in Bond Street was fully declared in the Register of Members Interests and this issue has been extensively and publicly aired. “I have received no personal benefit from the sale.”Dorset Police said it was investigating an allegation made against a councillor of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council following a referral from internal auditors the South West Audit Partnership. “The investigation is into alleged improper conduct relating to their obligation to disclose pecuniary interests,” the force added.
Matt Prosser, chief executive of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said: “We have acted upon concerns made to us about a councillor allegedly failing to disclose an interest in a meeting, which was to decide the future of the public toilets at 47a The Esplanade, Weymouth.”We referred the matter to independent auditors to investigate and this is ongoing.” He said the council would continue to co-operate with the investigation.
Source: BBC Dorset