The hearing of the Adjudication Panel of the Standards Board.
The hearing started late at 10.50 a.m. There was a three member adjudication panel, chaired by a solicitor. Two ex local
government councillors sat beside her. The prosecution had a barrister (or solicitor). Julie Wheeldon sat with her barrister.
The latter tried to get some of the charges withdrawn at the outset and generally tried to string out proceedings. The
chairperson allowed her and the prosecution much leeway. But for the late start and this, all would have been completed by 5 p.m.
After the objections had been largely dismissed, Mike Goater, District Planning engineer, was called. Later, Brian Hawkins
from the Belle Vue Residents Group, was called and , later still, Julie Wheeldon.
The panel have not yet considered some written evidence, or made their judgement, and will reconvene before Christmas.
The case centres around two issues :-
(1) the use of foul language to council employees and others by a District Councillor and consequent implications of bullying.
(2) the lack of observation of the code of conduct for councillors resulting from Julie Wheeldon’s refusal to distinguish
between her interests as a resident of Durlston Cliffs and her position as a District Councillor.
With regard to issue (1), she was upset by the contents of the first draft of the report from High Point Rendel (HPR) when it
was published in February, 2003. On February 10th, she entered Mike Goater’s office at P.D.C. and said that she wanted the
report to be adjusted. All references to property values and all reference to the Durlston Cliffs block of flats must be removed. Her concern was that possible problems in obtaining insurance and mortgages would affect the values of the properties. If the HPR engineer thought that the landslip caused any risk to Durlston Cliffs, then he was a ‘f******g w****r’. Similarly, if Mike Goater thought that there was a risk to the property, then he too was a ‘f*****g w****r’. On August 18 th , she called Roger Garwood and Mike Goater aside after a meeting in Swanage Town Hall about beach Recharge. She told them that she did not like what was in the second HPR report draft. She was angry and called them both ‘a*******s’. Julie Wheeldon denies using these words and the use of bad language on the first occasion. With regard to the second, she denies that the meeting ever took place.
With regard to issue (2), she is accused of abusing her position as a councillor in trying to get a report changed before it was formally published. She says that she was always acting as a resident of Durlston Cliffs except in Council meeting, when she declared an interest. With regard to the Belle Vue Action Group, who say that she was also rude to them, she says that she met them as a resident. They say that they invited her to meet them because she was a District Councillor and that they were desperate to get something done about the landslip of December 2000.
The above is necessarily a very brief summary of the day’s proceedings before the hearing was adjourned at 4.45 p.m.
see also page 10 of http://www.purbeck-gazette.co.uk/
and also original PDC report http://swanageview.blogspot.com/2004_10_01_swanageview_archive.html