Calls for councillors to declare whether they are council tenants following complaints against cabinet member (From Basildon Recorder)
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Calls for councillors to declare whether they are council tenants following complaints against cabinet member
A COUNCILLOR has called on his fellow members to reveal whether they are council tenants after officials had to investigate complaints against a cabinet member.
Keith Bobbin has lived in his council house in Rokescroft, Pitsea, for more than 40 years and believes that fellow councillors should be made to declare their housing situation after Terri Sargent was accused of getting preferential treatment.
Mrs Sargeant, Basildon councillor responsible for community, received a new kitchen at her council house in Lower Street, Noak Bridge, as part of the Decent Homes Programme.
But neighbours were left upset because 14 of them are still waiting for work to start and 51 have not yet had repairs completed.
Mr Bobbin, Labour councillor for Pitsea North West, is set to have his bathroom re-fitted in 2016 or 2017- the final year of the programme to bring homes up to an acceptable standard.
He said: “I have always been open and up-front about living in a council house and I think all councillors should be. I’m surprised to hear that Terri Sargent is a council tenant, but it’s not something which people are keen to talk about.”
All councillors are requried by law to complete a notification of interests form to register financial interests such as their employment, contracts between themselves or their company and the council, details of any sponsorship and connections to any land in the area.
The form does not request to know whether they live in a council property.
Basildon Council received complaints about Mrs Sargent, who has done nothing wrong, after workers from the firm Mitie were spotted carrying out the work.
Alan Davies, Labour councillor for Fryerns ward, added: “The problem is how it looks to the outside world. You do wonder if there has been any preferential treatment if other tenants are still waiting for work to be done.”
Mrs Sargent declined to comment, but her leader, Tony Ball, said: “These allegations are completely unfounded and have no basis in fact."