Warminster row over councillor's vote on homes bid

Magnus Macdonald

Magnus Macdonald

First published in Latest News by

Wiltshire councillor Magnus Macdonald has dismissed claims that, as a director of Selwood Housing, he had a conflict of interest in voting for a controversial housing development near Boreham Mill, Warminster.

Selwood is a prospective social housing partner in proposals by developer HAB – Happiness, Architecture, Beauty – Housing and HPH Ltd, to build 35 homes, 10 of them for social housing.

The plan was approved by the Western Area Plann-ing Committee on June 11, by six votes to five. Without Cllr Macdonald’s vote it may not have got through, as chairman Cllr Christopher Newbury – with a casting vote in a tie – was against it.

Warminster Town Council member Paul Macdonald and Mike Perry, the chairman of Bishopstrow Parish Meeting, both opponents of the scheme, made formal complaints to the council.

Cllr Magnus Macdonald, who represents Winsley and Westwood, declared he was a director, but Selwood’s late written submission stated there were no formal agreements with the developer. The councillor said he would vote on that basis.

However, documents from the developer acknowledged it was in discussions with Selwood as a possible partner.

Warminster Cllr Paul Macdonald said: “I came away outraged and incensed.”

Magnus Macdonald said: “When there is a social housing element in developments, they talk to social housing associations.

“I did not have any financial, personal interest.”

He has been a director of Selwood since last August, but it was not on his register of interests until this month.

He said: “I made a mistake that I did not fill in my written declaration of interest properly. That has now been pointed out to me.”

In the same meeting he declared an interest and withdrew from debate on a project in Westwood, because of Selwood involvement.

Comments (4)

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12:50pm Sun 13 Jul 14

brandx says...

Why did this councillor not declare his interest?

Why did he leave it off his public statement that all councillors are legally required to sign?

Will the public know the outcome of the official complaint?

Will the finely balanced planning decision still stand?

Far too many questions requiring honest answers.

No wondeer more and more people are cynical about the conduct of local government.
Why did this councillor not declare his interest? Why did he leave it off his public statement that all councillors are legally required to sign? Will the public know the outcome of the official complaint? Will the finely balanced planning decision still stand? Far too many questions requiring honest answers. No wondeer more and more people are cynical about the conduct of local government. brandx
  • Score: 4

1:15pm Sun 13 Jul 14

Mrs Donnyfly says...

Ah, the old "I forgot" or "it was an oversight" excuse. If Magnus MacDonald is so thick as to "forget" something so important to the democratic process, how on earth did he become a Councillor?
Ah, the old "I forgot" or "it was an oversight" excuse. If Magnus MacDonald is so thick as to "forget" something so important to the democratic process, how on earth did he become a Councillor? Mrs Donnyfly
  • Score: 4

4:11pm Sun 13 Jul 14

the optimist says...

brandx wrote:
Why did this councillor not declare his interest?

Why did he leave it off his public statement that all councillors are legally required to sign?

Will the public know the outcome of the official complaint?

Will the finely balanced planning decision still stand?

Far too many questions requiring honest answers.

No wondeer more and more people are cynical about the conduct of local government.
So many questions?

The answer is on the WC website under councillors?

He supports a party that is soon to be exterminated?

I can see a bi-election looming?
[quote][p][bold]brandx[/bold] wrote: Why did this councillor not declare his interest? Why did he leave it off his public statement that all councillors are legally required to sign? Will the public know the outcome of the official complaint? Will the finely balanced planning decision still stand? Far too many questions requiring honest answers. No wondeer more and more people are cynical about the conduct of local government.[/p][/quote]So many questions? The answer is on the WC website under councillors? He supports a party that is soon to be exterminated? I can see a bi-election looming? the optimist
  • Score: 3

11:17am Fri 18 Jul 14

Flooded says...

This councillor decided that as no contracts had been signed he did not have a peculiarly interest, completely ignoring the years of cooperation with the developer making plans for the site, forgetting the letters of support for the project, forgetting that if the development went ahead it was likely his company would get the work.
If there is a possibility of you gaining by voting you should not vote otherwise all contracts will simply be signed after planning approval to get round the issue. If this behaviour is not dealt with properly then it is a clear indication of the type of councillors we have.
I would not want to serve with people who disregard the rules and code of conduct to be open and honest ,so why do they, is this the norm?
This councillor decided that as no contracts had been signed he did not have a peculiarly interest, completely ignoring the years of cooperation with the developer making plans for the site, forgetting the letters of support for the project, forgetting that if the development went ahead it was likely his company would get the work. If there is a possibility of you gaining by voting you should not vote otherwise all contracts will simply be signed after planning approval to get round the issue. If this behaviour is not dealt with properly then it is a clear indication of the type of councillors we have. I would not want to serve with people who disregard the rules and code of conduct to be open and honest ,so why do they, is this the norm? Flooded
  • Score: 0

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