Members of the Greenhill Community Trust are calling for a thorough investigation in to the behaviour of a Dorset councillor. Nick Ireland, Liberal Democratic councillor for Crossways, has been cited not only for a conflict of interest but for entirely inappropriate social media interactions.
As a member of the Dorset Council – Western and Southern Area Planning Committee
and as an active member of Weymouth Bay Sea Swimmers they argue that he should have refrained from advising the swimmers and berating the Greenhill Community Trust during the planning application process for the demolition of the temporary RNLI hut on the Esplanade.
They are now seeking that this behaviour is never allowed to happen again and that councillors remain entirely impartial in all planning applications.
‘I am writing to you on behalf of the directors of Greenhill Community Trust to bring to your attention the dialogue on social media between Councillor Nick Ireland and Jason West (who is opposing the removal of the temporary RNLI hut that is situated within the grade 2 listed building at Greenhill Weymouth WP/19/00528/FUL. ). The exchange of views are in contradiction of the constitution of the council under the protocol for members and officers /planning procedures pg 264 2.2, pg 265 4.1 and pg266 5.1. We as a CIC are absolutely disgusted that a Dorset Council Councillor can air his views on the open WeyPort Facebook site and blatantly say he has emailed his fellow planning committee councillors to urge refusal of this application alongside boasting rejecting advice from planning officers, not something we would expect from an elected member!
From beginning to the end of this situation on the advice from our solicitor we have acted completely within the law and never have stooped so low as to take to social media to vent our anger even though Jason West has tried to discredit us twice to the CIC regulator and damage our personal reputations. The building should have been removed in 2008 this is shown quite clearly in previous planning decisions.
We hope you will investigate fully this social media outburst and come to the same conclusion as us that this elected member has totally over stepped his remit and in doing so has brought Dorset Council into disrepute.
Please see attached the screen shots of the conversation between Councillor Ireland and Jason West.
We look forward to hearing from you regarding this serious matter.
Sue Bray Director Greenhill Community Trust CIC’
The following is the dialogue that took place on the WeyPort CCOS Facebook page: It also includes comments from others that appear to have been misinformed too.
The hope is that Dorset council will at least reprimand Councillor Ireland and remind all councillors of their obligations and protocols.
*Following a Planning meeting on 3rd October permission was approved by the council for the demolition of the Temporary RNLI Hut in accordance with the full backing of the Conservation Officer.