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Waveney councillor quits cabinet post

PUBLISHED: 06:56 28 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:56 06 July 2010

Chris Punt

Chris Punt

Shaun Lowthorpe

A Waveney district councillor yesterday quit his cabinet post after it emerged he voted against a wind turbine planning application without declaring that he lived in the area.

A Waveney district councillor yesterday quit his cabinet post after it emerged he voted against a wind turbine planning application without declaring that he lived in the area.

Chris Punt, the council's portfolio holder for finance, stepped down with immediate effect after a meeting with council leader Mark Bee yesterday, following five complaints about his conduct.

He also failed to mention that he worked for a firm which may be affected by the approval of the application.

Mr Punt had agreed to stand in as a substitute for another councillor, Frank Mortimer, at the development control meeting last Wednesday where plans to build five wind turbines to power a Bernard Matthews plant at Holton, near Halesworth, were refused.

The councillor spoke against the plans but did not declare that he lived in the parish, and had a prejudicial interest - breaking council rules.

The planning decision will now have to be re-run and the council has reported the matter to the Standards Board for England.

Council leader Mark Bee, said he was now in the process of finding a replacement for Mr Punt.

"Following discussions, councillor Punt agrees that his position has become untenable and must resign his post as a member of the Waveney District Council cabinet," he said. "I accept that he was asked to step in as a substitute on the committee at the last minute and I accept his explanation that his actions were a dreadful oversight rather than anything more wilful.

"However, such actions clearly have the potential to bring this authority into disrepute and... we must act swiftly and decisively to uphold the good reputation of Waveney District Council."

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