£20,000 donation paid to Conservatives by firm at the middle of a controversial garden centre bid

£20,000 donation paid to Conservatives by firm at the middle of a controversial garden centre bid

An artist's impression of the store extension

Councillor Paul White said the decision is 'down to individuals'

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

LABOUR councillors have questioned whether their Conservative opponents are in a position to rule on a controversial garden centre bid, promising 300 jobs, after the local party received a £20,000 donation from the applicant.

Libra Textiles, parent company of Boundary Mill in Colne, is on record as making the donation to Pendle Conservatives last June.

And tomorrow night, the Colne area committee, with seven Tory councillors holding a majority vote, will decide upon a new garden centre, cafe and farm shop on land off Greenfield Road.

Party bosses have insisted there is no conflict of interest in their members voting on the planning application – and local sources say they see no reason to excuse themselves from the proceedings.

But the sole Labour member of the committee, Coun Ian Tweedie, who represents Vivary Bridge ward, has spoken out.

He said: “It’s a fact that the parent company of Boundary Mill, Libra Textiles, donated £20,000 less than 12 months ago to the local Conservative Party and here we have a major planning application submitted, upon which questions could be raised by a neutral person, if it is passed, and the voting record of Tory councillors.

“The Labour Party and I are not against employment opportunities in Pendle for our residents but the system needs to be a fair and transparent one.”

Coun Mohammed Iqbal, Labour group leader, added: “It is a matter for the Pendle Conservative Party and their councillors what they do but £20,000 was a large donation and in such a short space of time councillors have a big decision to make. The people of Pendle will be watching closely."

Philip Mousdale, deputy chief executive of Pendle Council and the authority’s monitoring officer, declined to say, when asked by the Lancashire Telegraph, whether the £20,000 donation qualified as a ‘pecuniary’ interest.

But Mr Mousdale added: “On any planning application councillors need to consider whether they can properly take part. We are willing to give advice to them about this on an individual basis.”

A Conservative Party North West spokesman said: “All donations to the Conservative Party are fully and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission and published on their website for public view.”

Coun Paul White, a Conservative councillor on the committee said that the decision would be left to individual councillors.

He added: “Whether they intend to vote is again up to them, although there is no reason they cannot.

“None have a pecuniary interest.”

Libra Textiles declined to comment.

Comments (11)

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12:31pm Wed 9 Apr 14

mmickk says...

Sour grapes because the labor Councillors did not get their stuffed brown envolopes?
Sour grapes because the labor Councillors did not get their stuffed brown envolopes? mmickk
  • Score: -6

1:40pm Wed 9 Apr 14

vicn1956 says...

And the labour party NEVER accepts donations does it?

Pot calling kettle black?

Isn't this how politics has always worked?
And the labour party NEVER accepts donations does it? Pot calling kettle black? Isn't this how politics has always worked? vicn1956
  • Score: -2

1:44pm Wed 9 Apr 14

ConcernedOssy says...

Afraid this is the real world folks ! ! !
Afraid this is the real world folks ! ! ! ConcernedOssy
  • Score: 3

2:10pm Wed 9 Apr 14

Interocitor says...

The saddest thing is that I don't think anyone will be at all surprised by this news.
The saddest thing is that I don't think anyone will be at all surprised by this news. Interocitor
  • Score: 10

5:53pm Wed 9 Apr 14

Timefor says...

Call me old fashioned but isn't it time for a complete ban on all business "sponsorship" of all political parties? Seems more honest to me if a party is funded by it's members via membership subs with, perhaps, a ceiling on donations by individual members. Don't suppose this'll be too popular with our political elite though, eh.
Call me old fashioned but isn't it time for a complete ban on all business "sponsorship" of all political parties? Seems more honest to me if a party is funded by it's members via membership subs with, perhaps, a ceiling on donations by individual members. Don't suppose this'll be too popular with our political elite though, eh. Timefor
  • Score: 6

12:30am Thu 10 Apr 14

sheepdip says...

Dont care who gave what to who 300 JOBS thats the inportant bit may not be the best paid in the world but will make a big diffrence to a lot of people.
Dont care who gave what to who 300 JOBS thats the inportant bit may not be the best paid in the world but will make a big diffrence to a lot of people. sheepdip
  • Score: -1

7:36am Thu 10 Apr 14

jenkinsroy says...

This is NOT about a payment to a particular PARTY
what labour are saying is that it is NOT up the
Conservatives to vote on this matter
we around here do not what a garden centre we want all
the sparer LAND TO BUILD HOUSES not a garden centre
so what ever the conservatives has promise this company
it has no right to say yes give us a back hander and you can build
what you like after all THEY do not live there it will not bother THEM
and has for more jobs the tax payers will foot that bill
1 this government will give the following to this company
as part of there deal for the money up front the company
will pay.
1 £2000 for every one they employ .
2 tax cut
3 they will pay no N.INSURANES
4 And I for one do know they will not pay the minimum wage
5 we do not need another garden centre we have a good one
down dames GOING INTO TRAWDEN.
6 And the tax payer get nothing out of this.
This is NOT about a payment to a particular PARTY what labour are saying is that it is NOT up the Conservatives to vote on this matter we around here do not what a garden centre we want all the sparer LAND TO BUILD HOUSES not a garden centre so what ever the conservatives has promise this company it has no right to say yes give us a back hander and you can build what you like after all THEY do not live there it will not bother THEM and has for more jobs the tax payers will foot that bill 1 this government will give the following to this company as part of there deal for the money up front the company will pay. 1 £2000 for every one they employ . 2 tax cut 3 they will pay no N.INSURANES 4 And I for one do know they will not pay the minimum wage 5 we do not need another garden centre we have a good one down dames GOING INTO TRAWDEN. 6 And the tax payer get nothing out of this. jenkinsroy
  • Score: 0

7:59am Thu 10 Apr 14

jenkinsroy says...

sheepdip wrote:
Dont care who gave what to who 300 JOBS thats the inportant bit may not be the best paid in the world but will make a big diffrence to a lot of people.
sorry to see you do not care about anybody.
you expect some one to work for nothing yes
will you be applying for a under paid job there yes or no.?
[quote][p][bold]sheepdip[/bold] wrote: Dont care who gave what to who 300 JOBS thats the inportant bit may not be the best paid in the world but will make a big diffrence to a lot of people.[/p][/quote]sorry to see you do not care about anybody. you expect some one to work for nothing yes will you be applying for a under paid job there yes or no.? jenkinsroy
  • Score: 1

12:35pm Thu 10 Apr 14

BogTrotter71 says...

sheepdip wrote:
Dont care who gave what to who 300 JOBS thats the inportant bit may not be the best paid in the world but will make a big diffrence to a lot of people.
The only way it could involve 300 jobs is if they are in the same vein as supermarket jobs. about 6 hours a week for most of the staff and probably keep renewing staff after the "probationary period". Keeps their costs down and makes it look like they are being good employers by seemingly employing large numbers of staff.
[quote][p][bold]sheepdip[/bold] wrote: Dont care who gave what to who 300 JOBS thats the inportant bit may not be the best paid in the world but will make a big diffrence to a lot of people.[/p][/quote]The only way it could involve 300 jobs is if they are in the same vein as supermarket jobs. about 6 hours a week for most of the staff and probably keep renewing staff after the "probationary period". Keeps their costs down and makes it look like they are being good employers by seemingly employing large numbers of staff. BogTrotter71
  • Score: 3

3:44pm Thu 10 Apr 14

valleyblue says...

The 300 jobs could still be created if the new Garden Centre were built on an existing derelict site,such as Biundary Mill`s own site adjacent to Asda for example.The creation of the new business is not the issue it is more to do with the location and the fact they want to build on greenbelt land.Ther is also the issue of traffic congestion in the area, as a new roundabout would have to be installed on whitewalls drive which is already gridlocked at rush hour,add to this the added danger of traffic backing up onto the M65 and there is a real danger that people will just avoid travelling into Colne completely.
The 300 jobs could still be created if the new Garden Centre were built on an existing derelict site,such as Biundary Mill`s own site adjacent to Asda for example.The creation of the new business is not the issue it is more to do with the location and the fact they want to build on greenbelt land.Ther is also the issue of traffic congestion in the area, as a new roundabout would have to be installed on whitewalls drive which is already gridlocked at rush hour,add to this the added danger of traffic backing up onto the M65 and there is a real danger that people will just avoid travelling into Colne completely. valleyblue
  • Score: 1

5:02pm Thu 10 Apr 14

ROBERTSLUMDWELLER123 says...

if anybody on here knows any Garden Centre anywhere in Europe that employs 300 people please let me know..and I have worked all over Europe!!!
if anybody on here knows any Garden Centre anywhere in Europe that employs 300 people please let me know..and I have worked all over Europe!!! ROBERTSLUMDWELLER123
  • Score: 3

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