A formal complaint made to Hastings Borough Council by local environmental activist Chris Hurrell concerning the conduct of the chair of the planning committee of Hastings Borough Council, Cllr Alan Roberts, in hearing Sheikh Gulzar’s application for permission to erect sheds on the pier has been rejected. Mr Hurrell complained that, at the hearing in March, Cllr Roberts failed to declare a personal interest, despite having been pictured with the applicant at various social events and being his Facebook friend. Three other councillors on the committee had barred themselves from involvement as being personally acquainted with the applicant or with his agent ‘Lord’ Brett Maclean. However the council’s Standards committee decided that Cllr Roberts’ connexion was not sufficient to require him to declare it.

Mr Hurrell had also complained at the manner in which Cllr Roberts conducted the hearing, allowing the applicant to digress from planning issues and make allegations against numerous parties in the course of his testimony. Mr Hurrell stated that he had never witnessed any other speaker being treated so indulgently by the Chair and given free rein to make allegations “against all and sundry”. The Standards committee made no finding on this complaint, reporting that it did not fall within their remit to address how the meeting was chaired. 

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