Councillor at heart of probe

Coun Albert Pounder
Coun Albert Pounder
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A LEADING councillor said he has nothing to hide after it was revealed he is at the centre of a standards investigation.

Fylde Council member Albert Pounder is renting a barn at Wrea Green hotel The Villa, which has been involved in several contentious planning applications in recent months.

Coun Pounder – fighting for re-election in Staining and Weeton today – claims it is all above board, but is now facing an investigation after town hall bosses received a complaint about his conduct.

A member of the council’s development control committee, he voted in the recent planning applications about the hotel’s temporary marquee and the complaint relates to his failure to declare an interest.

Coun Pounder, who runs his own marquee business, said: “The barn belongs to Simon Rigby, I’ve been using it for the last month.

“It came about because the charity Grumpys in Blackpool closed down and I was asked if I could store some equipment and that’s what I did.

“I store chairs in the barn, all my marquees are in the back of my van. The marquee that’s up at The Villa is not mine. I’ve nothing to do with The Villa at all other than I use Simon’s barn.”

The marquee application first went before the planning committee in November.

Coun Pounder, who is currently the council’s portfolio holder for customer and operational services, has been backed by Villa owner Mr Rigby who said the councillor had “nothing to hide”.

Mr Rigby added: “I believe Albert has a tent business and he is renting a bit of space off me. I’ve a lot of units all over the place and he is just hiring some space.

“He has only just moved in and there are no committee meetings at the moment.

“Albert has nothing to hide and it’s our marquee that’s up, we bought it and we didn’t buy it off Albert.

“He was not involved.”

Council leader Coun David Eaves confirmed he had received a complaint and had passed it on to the relevant council department.

A Fylde Council spokesman added: “A complaint has been received about this allegation and it will be dealt with through the council’s normal standards regime within the next month.

“It will be for the committee to give it full consideration and they will not rush any inquiries they make.”