Calls for Radio Hartlepool row talks rejected by council chiefs

Peter Devlin
Peter Devlin

CALLS for a discussion relating to interaction between councillors and Radio Hartlepool have been rejected by local authority executives.

Opposition councillors had contacted Hartlepool Borough Council solicitor Peter Devlin to put forward a motion to discuss claims relating to the local authority and Radio Hartlepool.

The controversy came to light when radio bosses contacted police to complain about the conduct of ceremonial mayor, Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher, Conservative leader Coun Ray Wells, and Coun Carl Richardson, deputy chairman of the council.

In an attempt to have the radio row brought into the public domain, councillors Jonathan Brash, independent Labour, Putting Hartlepool First’s David Riddle, Geoff Lilley, Keith Dawkins and Kelly Atkinson and independent Paul Thompson all signed a form asking for the motion to be tabled.

The motion asked all councillors to offer full support to any investigations as well as calling for the three councillors to step down until matters with the radio station are resolved.

But Mr Devlin has rejected their request after suggesting the motion was too similar to the one discussed at the extraordinary meeting held earlier this month where the future of the mayor was discussed following his sacking from Newcastle City Council.

He also said that the police involvement was another reason why the motion could not be raised.

A council spokesman said: “The council’s chief solicitor has advised that the motion should not be accepted as it is substantially similar to the motion put to the extraordinary council meeting on Wednesday, October 13, and elements were raised at that meeting.

“Also, because the police are presently looking into matters that relate to the motion, it should not be subject to council discussion at this time. This has been communicated to Councillor Brash.”

Coun Brash said: “Sadly there will be no motion at council on October 30 after it was blocked by the authority’s chief solicitor.

“He has informed me that legally I am not allowed to tell the public his reasons as to why a public motion, submitted by the public’s representatives to a public forum cannot he heard by the public.”