STANDARDS COMPLAINT BY BARRY HUGHES
|Barry Hughes was a Member of Borough Green Parish Council from 1974 - 2007, and Chairman for some considerable part of that period. He was a Member of Tonbridge & Malling District Council, the first Mayor when T&M attained Borough Status. He served as Deputy Leader of TMBC. He was also our Kent County Council Member. Whilst not now serving in any official capacity, he has been a Freeman of the Borough for many years, and still attends official functions. He is a close family friend of the Current Chief Executive at TMBC, Ms Julie Beilby.|
Mr Hughes lives next door to 13 Harrison Rd, who recently applied for permission to build a two story side extension, a virtual mirror image of the extension on 15 Harrison Rd, approved in 1975, when planning rules were much more stringent than today's free-for-all, when truly huge extensions are now just nodded through, often despite objections from neighbours and the Parish Council. Mr Hughes objected to the application, and it was refused. I had concerns voiced to me, not by the applicant, that it had only been refused because it was felt that Mr Hughes still had significant influence at TMBC. When the application went to appeal I sent a letter to the Planning Inspectorate passing on those resident's concerns. I do admit to some sympathy for their views.
A little bit of history about Mr Hughes, apart from the "official" version above.
Mr Hughes was our KCC County Councillor in the early 90s when the planning permission for our Bypass was allowed to lapse once the Darkhill roundabout and bridge had been built, a fact only discovered when H+H Celcon's application for a new factory that would have funded the Bypass went to a Planning Inquiry. Mistake? or deliberate opposition - I don't know.
In 2005 BGPC wanted to strongly support the Celcon Factory application, the residents had already agreed to this at a big public meeting, it was the only way to get funding for our beloved bypass. There was considerable heated discussion because Cllr Steve Perry produced some alarmist downloads about fly ash hazards, but this was dismissed by the members. The Chairman (Barry Hughes) agreed to write our response wholeheartedly supporting Celcon and the Bypass.
Unbeknownst to us, Cllrs Hughes and Perry drafted a letter allegedly from BGPC opposing the factory. To her eternal credit, KCC Cllr Valerie Dagger, a vigorous objector to the Bypass, spotted the letter of objection when it arrived at KCC Planning, and contacted me. The next Parish Council meeting saw the largest ever attendance by the public, Sue Murray resigned, and a new letter was drafted.
Also unknown to us, in that same fateful year Cllrs Sue Murray and Barry Hughes were planning to pervert our Parish Plan. We held a public exhibition in February 2005 to support our Parish Plan, during which no-one knew anything about Isles Quarry and TMBC's plan to sneak mass housing onto the site. Once the consultation had finished SM and BH had a secret meeting where they inserted glowing references ti Isles Quarry into the plan from notes supplied by Brian Gates, Senior Planner at TMBC.
We did not discover this until 2007 at the LDF Inquiry, by which time it was too late. The evidence to prove the above is briefly listed here .
Mr Hughes reacted strongly to my letter, and lodged this complaint . Of course, TMBC gleefully accepted another complaint against me, and commissioned a report from an Independent Investigator, a Solicitor. I realised that Mr Hughes evidence to the Independent Investigator was deeply flawed, and prepared this list of questions. Unfortunately Mr Hughes lost his bottle, and refused to attend, so the whole exercise was a bit pointless. However, I was duly found guilty (surprise) and the Panel handed down this decision .