The new leader of North East Lincolnshire Council said major regeneration decisions for Grimsby will be made by his cabinet “as a whole” after claims of a “conflict of interest”.
Councillor Philip Jackson was appointed leader at the authority’s general meeting last night and named his new executive team.
But, Labour opposition councillors claimed there was a conflict of interest in the appointment of Councillor John Fenty as deputy leader and regeneration portfolio holder.
Plans to regenerate the town include discussions between the council and Grimsby Town Football club for a new multi-million pound stadium.
Councillor Fenty is a director and majority shareholder of the club and has listed his position in the register of members interests.
But Councillor Jackson reassured councillors that no decision on the regeneration plans will be made by any individual councillor.
“When it comes to the cabinet, it is important that we have the right people in the right jobs,” he said.
“Let me make it absolutely clear that all major regeneration decisions will be taken by the cabinet as a whole, not by any individual member.”
Councillor Fenty said he has had discussions with the council’s chief executive to ensure transparency and that there are no conflicts of interest.
Under council procedure, any member who has a prejudicial interest would not be involved in votes on key authority decisions.
Labour leader of the opposition, Councillor Matthew Patrick, said he had “mixed feelings” about the new cabinet.
“I have not known or heard of such a cabinet to have such a large conflict of interest,” he said.
“Residents need to know that when a portfolio holder wakes up in the morning that their first thought is what s best for the borough as a whole, not something fundamentally different.”
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