To consider the report of the Monitoring Officer (to follow).
Submitted - the report of the Monitoring Officer requesting that the committee consider and decide on an application by Councillor W. Gareth Roberts, a member of the Aberdaron ward on Gwynedd Council, for a dispensation relating to the proposed scheme to create electricity near Bardsey Island, which was in his ward, where he was also a tenant farmer.
The Senior Solicitor - Corporate explained:
· Should the scheme be realised, the Councillor would benefit in the sense that there would be an electricity supply available to him on Bardsey Island. This created an interest because a decision on the scheme either way would impact his personal interest. The interest was also a prejudicial one.
· The Councillor wished to take part in the local discussions due to his knowledge as a local member, but also as someone who had unique knowledge and experience of Bardsey Island. He also wished to have the right to speak as a local member, but not to vote, when the scheme was presented to this Council.
On this point, Councillor Dewi Roberts declared a personal interest in the item as he was a member of the Bardsey Island Trust and had been Vice-chair of the Bardsey Island Council. He was of the opinion that it was a prejudicial interest, and he withdrew from the meeting during the discussion on the item.
The committee was asked to weigh up the public interest in preventing the Councillor from taking part in the discussions due to the interest, against the public interest, in allowing him to take part due to his unique knowledge and experience of Bardsey Island. The Committee was also asked to consider the practicality of asking another member to step into the role of the local member in this context.
During the discussion on the application, the following observations were noted:
· The Councillor would not benefit financially from the scheme.
· As the Councillor already used electricity on the island, the scheme would not mean any more to him than changing the core supply.
· That the wording of the Councillor's application for a dispensation suggested that he had a definite view in favour of the arrival of an electricity supply on the island. Despite that, it was possible that others might have reasons for opposing the development and that view needed to be heard in any discussions also.
· That the scheme's advantage to the Councillor as a tenant was clear, as having an electricity supply on the island would facilitate things for him.
· That the Councillor could talk on the matter as a private landowner and that he could ask an adjacent member to represent him in his role as a local member.
RESOLVED to refuse the application by Councillor W. Gareth Roberts for a dispensation to take part as a member of Gwynedd Council in the local discussions and to speak when the scheme to create electricity near Bardsey Island came before this Council, on the following grounds:
(a) That the committee was of the opinion that the connection between the Councillor and the scheme and his tenancy on Bardsey Island, and also given the content of his application form for dispensation, meant that it would be difficult for him to represent the interest of the general public as he had already come to a conclusion on this matter, and that his connection to this matter was too close and too great.
(b) That he would have a voice on the matter in his role as a private landowner in any case.
(c) In terms of talking on the matter in general, it is not considered that this matter means that another member cannot step into the role of the local member in this context.