Councillor ‘should consider position’ after Scruples vote

Lytham St Annes Civic Society Scruples site plans
Lytham St Annes Civic Society Scruples site plans
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A Fylde councillor has called on a fellow member to consider his position following his part in recommending a bid to develop a key coastal site.

With Fylde Council’s cabinet set to meet in June to rubber-stamp the re-development of the former Scruples site (above) on Lytham foreshore, Coun Tim Ashton (pictured left) said Coun Charlie Duffy (pictured below) “should go” after sitting in on a council meeting to help decide its future – despite his wife being a member of the Lytham St Annes Civic Society – the group recommended to revamp the former mussel tanks.

The society’s proposal was chosen over a £400,000 sand and water play scheme from Park View at a meeting of the Community Focus Scrutiny Committee, which Coun Duffy took part in.

Coun Ashton (pictured bottom) said: “In my opinion, Coun Duffy should not have taken part in the meeting. His wife is a trustee of the Civic Society.

“He should have declared any interests.

“He also said this sort of project should not appear in Lytham, as the money for the sand and water play scheme was for deprived areas. The money should go to the best bid. It’s a shame he did not see that.

Coun Charlie Duffy

Coun Charlie Duffy

“I feel so bad about it, he should consider his position.”

Coun Duffy said there was “no interest” he could have declared.

He added: “The job of a councillor is to make decisions and look at both sides.

“I came down on the side of the Civic Society. I felt I should have been involved as it was so important to people in my ward. As far as I am concerned, I have done exactly what my job was.

“Where my wife is concerned, her interest is not my interest unless it affects our wellbeing or financial status.

“There is no interest I could have declared.

“The Civic Society is not an interest as part of the code of conduct. I have done my job as I should have done – Coun Ashton should know that.”

In March, the council’s Community Focus Scrutiny Committee met to review the two plans, and backed a scheme which looks to celebrate the history of Lytham Green, the RNLI, shipping and the town’s fishing industry, but Coun Ashton said the recommendation was a missed opportunity.

He added: “It’s a shame the potential for a £400,000 investment has effectively been not looked at. It was going to create a few jobs.”

A Fylde Council spokesman said: “The committee met in March and made a recommendation which was to look at the Civic Society proposal.

“That recommendation needs to go to cabinet for ratificiation.”

Marion Coupe, of the Lytham St Annes Civic Society said: “We are happy to follow the council’s wishes, in accordance with the coastal plan.”

Park View4U says it has no wish to pursue the site for its plans in the future.