Mansfield’s deputy mayor brushes off resignation calls after cash row

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MANSFIELD’S deputy mayor has brushed off a claim he should stand down over the district council’s failure to spend a pot of cash on community projects.

Roger Sutcliffe, also portfolio holder for resources, faced the call from leader of the majority-holding Labour group, Coun Martin Lee, who argued the £340,000 sum was his responsibility.

The authority had to give it back to developer Bloor Homes, plus £44,541 interest, because it missed a legal deadline to spend it.

Coun Lee claimed at last Tuesday’s full council meeting the issue fell under Independent Coun Sutcliffe’s remit and as such he should stand down.

“The answer is no,” said Coun Sutcliffe, repeating comments ahead of the meeting last week that he felt the call was misdirected.

“The issue of the 106 money is not an executive responsibility and it’s not Council Tax payers’ money and any interest paid has not been paid by the tax- payer.”

When asked by Coun Lee who he did think should be responsible, Coun Sutcliffe replied the fact the authority is still conducting an internal investigation into how it failed to spend the cash, geared to go on environmental improvements, meant it was inappropriate to elaborate.

A 2007 council clerical error meant the money was given an incorrect spending deadline of August this year instead of February 2009.

Coun Lee had argued Coun Sutcliffe had ‘direct executive responsibility’ because of his portfolio role.

Mansfield mayor Tony Egginton backed Coun Sutcliffe’s position at the meeting, adding: “I have absolute confidence in Roger Sutcliffe.

“Section 106 monies are nothing to do with the portfolio holder for resources.”

Results of the investigation are expected in around two weeks’ time.