A PARISH councillor has breached the code of conduct because she discussed plans to build two homes on land next to her home without having the proper permission.

Councillor Luci Watkins declared she had an interest in a planning application debated at Linton parish council’s extraordinary meeting on July 22, this year.

She told the meeting she was a neighbour to Long Barn House, Linton, near Ross-on-Wye, which had plans to build two homes on it.

Linton Parish Council unanimously agreed that she remain in the room but have no vote on the matter.

However, the councillor should have requested a dispensation to do so because it was a disclosable pecuniary interest.

The council’s monitoring officer considered a complaint alleging that Coun Watkins may have acted in breach of the code of conduct for members on November 7.

The appointed independent persons were consulted and they concluded that there was indeed a breach.

“The reason for the decision is that councillor Watkins does live adjacent to the land for which planning permission was being sought and therefore would have had a direct interest in the matter being considered,” the decision notice reads.

“Councillor Watkins did declare an interest at the meeting on July 22, 2019, but the parish council unanimously agreed that she remain in the room but not vote.

“The councillor should have requested a dispensation which would have been appropriate for the parish council to consider.

“Councillor Watkins did declare this interest in the meeting but did participate. She did not vote.

“Participation in a matter that you have a Schedule 1 interest in is a breach of the code.

“By applying her mind to the issue and asking the council to consider her position shows that Councillor Watkins has an awareness of issues but unfortunately, as no dispensation was granted, a breach has occurred.”

The parish council has been recommended to take up written advice on dispensations.