CAMPAIGNING Cotswold District Councillor Esmond Jenkins has escaped suspension at the end of a four-day Standards Board hearing into allegations he breached codes of conduct.

Although five separate breaches of the code of conduct were found in Cllr Jenkins’ behaviour, the Standards Committee decided to impose only minimal sanctions upon him.

The Standards Committee found that Cllr Jenkins had failed to treat CDC head of democratic services Nigel Adams with respect when they visited Cotswold Country Park and Beach to investigate the alleged planning breach at the lake, and that the incident brought his office into disrepute.

It was also found that Cllr Jenkins did not treat planning officers with respect and that his allegations of misconduct within the department brought the council into disrepute.

The committee also found that emails sent by Cllr Jenkins making accusations of misconduct had compromised the impartiality of planning officers.

Eleven other allegations, including that Cllr Jenkins bullied officers and misused his position as a councillor, were dismissed by the committee.

After the committee had announced its findings, which comprised breaches of three clauses of the code of conduct, three members of the community gave mitigation statements on Cllr Jenkins’ behalf, including South Cerney Parish Council chairman Mike Stuart.

Cllr Stuart said: “We of the community are absolutely horrified at the way this has been allowed to develop.

“When I met Cllr Jenkins I knew he was a man who would rattle cages, upset things and kick backside, and I know that the people of this area support him.”

Cllr Stuart was given a standing ovation by Cllr Jenkins’ supporters following his comments.

The Standards Board issued Cllr Jenkins with a formal censure for making unsubstantiated allegations of corruption within CDC’s planning department and his “robust and intemperate behaviour”.

He has also been ordered to write an official letter of apology to Mr Adams and undergo code of conduct training, which he had not previously completed.

Speaking after the ruling, Cllr Jenkins said he was “delighted” by the outcome.

“This has been ten months of significant turmoil for everyone involved, and, thanks to the huge support that I’ve enjoyed from local people, today’s outcome represents a fair and just result,” he said.

“While I still do not believe that I committed any breach of the code of conduct, it was certainly not my intention to cause any distress or be disrespectful towards Mr Adams.”

Cllr Jenkins hit out at the Standards Board process, calling it “a hugely disproportionate and expensive waste of taxpayer’s money”.

He also thanked his supporters for their support.

“The Standards Committee took on board the huge level of public support and this weighed significantly on the decision to give me the most minimal of sanctions.”

At the end of today’s session, the committee retired to consider if any recommendations could be made to the council to avoid another case such as this arising in the future.

They are expected to present their recommendations on Monday.