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Greenham clerk resigned over concerns that parish council had operated outside the law

Former clerk says she was accused of delaying control tower project

Redevelopment of Greenham former cold war tower put on hold

A FORMER Greenham Parish Council clerk claims she was branded a troublemaker when she warned about the council operating outside the law.

Heather Westbrook was so concerned about the breach that she gave it as the reason for standing down in her resignation letter.

She said: “Most of my two years as clerk had been spent trying to get the council to operate within the law. It worried me so much that I couldn’t sleep.

“So, I knew I had to resign.”

Mrs Westbrook served as a councillor from January 2014 to July 2016, and was acting clerk from October 2014 to July 2016.

A number of other clerks also held the post during this time, but they all resigned.

John Boston was clerk when the Greenham Common Control Tower was bought from West Berkshire Council but he resigned six months later and Mrs Westbrook stepped in as acting clerk.

Referring to persistent interference in her job, Mrs Westbrook said: “It’s the clerk’s responsibility for engaging suppliers and contractors to work for the council, including the control tower, so I needed to see individual quotes, and to ensure everything was properly signed off, but this was mainly kept away from me.

“I needed to ensure that contractors were insured, but the control tower working group refused to let me do what was required.

“So I was unaware of who was employed, what they were being paid, or whether everything had been signed off properly.

“The working group instructed me not to contact contractors, and I was even accused of deliberately delaying the project because I wanted to do everything legally and correctly.

“In one instance, around £70,000 was wasted on a planning application that an extant planning application already existed.”

Council chairman Phil Barnett said: “Mrs Westbrook was deeply concerned about a number of matters.

“She raised the issue of operating ultra vires over a long time. That’s all I’d like to say.”

Last year, auditor BDO published a damning report which heavily criticised Greenham Parish Council’s handling of the project.

However, the new-look parish council said that changes were being made to address the concerns in the report.

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Article comments

  • Michael

    16/01/2017 - 23:11

    Simon, quite a few resignations from Greenham Parish Council. But it reflects poorly on the Lib Dems who took up those positions and then elected as Chair the one who seems to be most tied up in the doomed Control Tower Project.

    Reply

  • John71

    John71

    15/01/2017 - 08:08

    It's got a lot to do with wbc couse that's where it started from by Tory run corruption council, dodgy deals with the lib dem runned parish. Look at everything else the parties been wasting money on which no one opened an independent investigation/inquiries that wbc been allowed to get away with wasting our money on things that shouldn't gone ahead

    Reply

  • John71

    John71

    14/01/2017 - 10:10

    Sack those who coursed all the problems and take away there allowances. Disgusting and shameful actions. Local gov councillors from all parties can not be trusted. West Berkshire needs a big shake up and those in west Berkshire council, should be first to go.

    Reply

    • Bombey

      14/01/2017 - 15:03

      Nowt to do with WBC old chap.

      Reply

      • Michael

        14/01/2017 - 21:09

        "Nowt to do with WBC..." ?? Who did Greenham Parish Council buy the Control Tower from? The key player in the Control Tower Project and recently elected Chair of Greenham Parish Council was formerly a councillor at which council?

        Reply

      • Michael

        14/01/2017 - 21:09

        "Nowt to do with WBC..." ?? Who did Greenham Parish Council buy the Control Tower from? The key player in the Control Tower Project and recently elected Chair of Greenham Parish Council was formerly a councillor at which council?

        Reply

      • Michael

        14/01/2017 - 21:09

        "Nowt to do with WBC..." ?? Who did Greenham Parish Council buy the Control Tower from? The key player in the Control Tower Project and recently elected Chair of Greenham Parish Council was formerly a councillor at which council?

        Reply

      • Michael

        14/01/2017 - 21:09

        "Nowt to do with WBC..." ?? Who did Greenham Parish Council buy the Control Tower from? The key player in the Control Tower Project and recently elected Chair of Greenham Parish Council was formerly a councillor at which council?

        Reply

      • Michael

        14/01/2017 - 21:09

        "Nowt to do with WBC"? Who did Greenham Parish Council buy the Control Tower from? Which (now former) WBC councillor headed up the Control Tower project? Which former WBC councillor was recently elected as Chair of Greenham Parish Council?

        Reply

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