Lincolnshire County Councillor faces standards hearing

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Image caption Councillor Ian Fleetwood is accused of using council money to fund a group opposed to the closure of Hawthorne Road

A councillor accused of using public money to fund a group fighting the council faces a conduct hearing.

Lincolnshire county councillor Ian Fleetwood is under investigation for giving taxpayers' cash to the Hawthorne Action Group.

The organisation opposes plans to close Hawthorne Road as part of the Lincoln Eastern Bypass project.

Mr Fleetwood said he took advice before giving the money to two parish councils which passed it on to the group.

The complaint was made by rival campaigners Lincolnshire Bypass Action Group which supports the council's plans for a bypass.

'Took advice'

It said Mr Fleetwood breached the code of conduct by giving the money from his Big Society Fund to Reepham and Cherry Willingham parish councils' "fighting fund".

Under council rules, the money should not be used to fund groups opposed to council policy.

Hawthorne Action Group is not opposed to a bypass but believes Hawthorne Road should remain open.

Mr Fleetwood declined to comment other than to say he took advice before giving the money.

Richard Wills, monitoring officer at Lincolnshire County Council, said complaints were investigated and, if the investigator considers there is evidence of a breach, a panel is convened.

"The council does not comment on individual cases but can confirm that a hearing panel is being convened to consider a case that resulted from a complaint by members of the public," he said.

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