Statement – Cllr Jack Brown M.B.E

Written complaints to Amber Valley Borough Council, received in March and April 2018, against Cllr Jack Brown M.B.E. that he had wrongly participated in a debate and voted on a planning application (Nether Farm) at a meeting of the Planning Board on 18 December 2017, were referred by the Council’s Monitoring Officer to the Standards and Appeals Committee, after first seeking the advice of the Council’s ‘Independent Person’.

The Standards and Appeals Committee heard on 13 June 2018 that Cllr Brown had frankly admitted, and accepted without reservation, that he should not have taken part in that debate and should not have voted at all because of having a personal and prejudicial interest in that application due to his wife’s ownership of a nearby property.

Whilst Cllr Brown had already notified in June 2016 that land ownership interest on his Register of Interests, he should have also declared his personal and prejudicial interest at that meeting. The fact that he had voted in favour of the development proposal, in what he saw as the public interest, and arguably against that private interest, did not excuse him from his obligation to have absented himself from the debate.

The Committee noted that he had accepted that an unequivocal apology was due (and would be given), that he would undergo further training, and that a news release would be issued for reasons of transparency.

The Committee were reassured that no planning decision notice had been issued in respect of the Nether Farm application and that the matter had been referred back to the Planning Board for a fresh consideration and decision. It further observed that Cllr Brown is no longer a member of the Planning Board and was not be present on 18 June 2018 when the matter was reconsidered.

In the light of this, the Standards and Appeals Committee decided that it was not in the public interest for a formal investigation to be undertaken at public expense. 

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