The mayor of Warwick will have to face the full district council next Wednesday after complaints about his standard of behaviour during a scrutiny hearing about the possible sale of land at the racecourse.
Cllr Bob Dhillon (pictured right) has always been outspoken in his views but his passions about the suggested sale of part of St Mary’s Lands - which includes the racecourse - overflowed at a recent meeting of the overview and scrutiny committee. He stormed out and made remarks understood to be directed at the district council’s deputy chief executive Andrew Jones.
As a result Mr Jones, who is the lead monitoring officer on the future business options at the racecourse, has told senior officers that he has felt intimidated and bullied by the mayor’s outburst. He felt it was unacceptable to have not only his own integrity but that of others questioned during a public meeting.
Fellow Conservatives will have to decide their own position on Cllr Dhillon’s remarks.
But the matter is considered serious enough for the county council’s head of law and governance, Greta Needham, to attend the hearing at the full district council meeting.
Cllr Dhillon has already written a formal apology to Mr Jones and explained that when he left the meeting on July 9 he was not accusing anybody specifically of malpractice.
The issue over the sale of part of St Mary’s Lands for the building of a budget hotel - following the rejection of a planning application last year - has led to huge amounts of ill-feeling in the town.
Not least because the Jockey Club has suggested the racecourse might be forced to close without some sound business options, which could include building a hotel and extending the golf course and caravan park.
Cllr Dhillon is certainly not alone in thinking that there has not been enough consultation on decisions about the publicly-owned St Mary’s Lands on which the racecourse is situated. In the past several other councillors have expressed their dissatisfaction
But the matter is considered so serious that instead of hauling Cllr Dhillon before the district’s Standards committee, it has been decided he must face the full council.
Among the sanctions he faces would be being banned from sitting on any future committees - making his time as a district councillor of little use - or being removed from the Conservative group.
Earlier this week Cllr Dhillon said: “I wasn’t accusing anybody although as I left the meeting I must have expressed my thoughts out loud.
“At the moment I feel that Warwick District council is not acting in the best interests for my town and I am singled out for personal complaints to undermine the public confidence in me .
“I have not been given the usual 14 day notice to get advice and organise a defense against the complaint. There are on-going issues at this site which are currently being investgated by the Audit office.”