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Councillor stands down from cabinet over Lyme Green debacle
A CHESHIRE East councillor has stood down from the cabinet as a result of the investigation into a failed waste transfer station in Macclesfield.
An investigation into Lyme Green - in which the council spent £800,000 of tax payers' money on a waste transfer station without planning consent - was completed last month.
He told the cabinet that decisions on Lyme Green were made without his knowledge but accepted they were made during his watch.
Clr Rod Menlove said in a statement to the cabinet on Monday: “It is with the greatest of regret that I stand here today and announce that I am resigning from my position as portfolio holder with responsibility for environment.
“I have taken this decision after a great deal of soul searching and reflection on issues that have arisen following the proposal to site a waste transfer station at Lyme Green.
“This, I am sure everyone will agree, has been a wholly regrettable incident and one that has caused the reputation of the Council to be called into question.
“I am not an operational officer. I am a cabinet member with a portfolio that, as people are well aware, is significantly larger that some of the other areas.
"I work on the basis that officers discuss issues with me, we agree a course of action and I then trust the officer to follow due procedure and process in carrying out the action.
“All decisions I make are for the good of the taxpayer, and are done so using the information that I get from officers. I expect to be given all information and issues, no matter how unpalatable, so that together we can agree a course of action.
“However, as I have consistently stated, at no time was I informed of the gathering issues regarding the potential waste transfer station in the north of the borough.
“I cannot though, in all conscience, ignore the fact that this situation arose on my watch. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and had I been party to such information in relation to Lyme Green in a timely fashion, undoubtedly such conversations would have taken place which may have resulted in a different outcome.
“As it is, it did happen whilst I was responsible for that area and I find that the only honourable course of action for me to take is to step down.
“I am proud of what I have achieved during the three years that I have held this portfolio: Recycling rates have increased significantly – we one of the best performing authorities in the North West; in the last year we filled over 40,000 potholes; there has been a considerable increase in the investment in highways and my personal commitment to energy saving has seen a reduction in our carbon footprint.
"Come April, this will be even more important because of the tax penalties we could face.
“I have found my time as a Cheshire East Cabinet member immensely rewarding and I have enjoyed carrying out my duties.
"It is, therefore, a regrettable culmination of circumstances that necessitates my resignation.”
Cheshire East Council leader Clr Michael Jones thanked Clr Menlove for his excellent, hard work over the past three years.
Clr Jones said: “He has left his portfolio in a strong state and this legacy means that we can now go on and deliver even further improvements.
“We have cleared 46,000 potholes in a year and we are looking to deliver the same this year.
“I wholeheartedly thank him for his time his unstinting efforts and the energy he has brought to the role.
"Rod should be recognised as a true champion of change. He has demonstrated this in his efforts around carbon reduction and fiscal savings, and will always be recognised as the lead for the highest-ever investment in roads on Cheshire East.
“It is with great regret that I accept his resignation but I look forward to using his vast knowledge and experience in the future.”
Former Cheshire East Council Leader Clr Wesley Fitzgerald, who first appointed Clr Menlove to the cabinet in January 2010, said: “Having just learned that Clr Rod Menlove has resigned from the cabinet, I am not surprised that he has done the honourable thing in the matter of the waste transfer site debacle.
“Rod is a good man who has done excellent work as portfolio holder for environment since the beginning of 2010, and it is a matter of great regret that a person of such quality has had to step down.
“I have no doubt that he will continue to be an extremely effective ward member for Cheshire East Council and his reputation, in that respect, goes before him.”