Cheshire East in Rotten Boroughs

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Readers of Private Eye may have noticed that the current issue of the satirical and investigative magazine edited by Ian Hislop includes a piece on Cheshire East in its Rotten Boroughs page.

This column looks at dodgy happenings in local councils in every issue. For those that have not seen the article, this is what it says:

"Meanwhile opposition councillors at Tory Cheshire East Council want to know why two senior officers named in an independent investigation into a planning scandal have been allowed to leave and pocket at least three months' dosh.

"As reported in Eye 1317, an outside investigator was brought in last year after it was discovered that the go-ahead had been given for work to start on a waste transfer station without planning permission or the contract going out to tender. The council paid out more than £800,000 before the whistle was blown.

"The report names deputy chief executive John Nicholson and borough solicitor and monitoring officer Caroline Elwood. But both were allowed to resign and pocket three months' money rather than face any disciplinary action.

"The resignations follow that of Erika Wenzel the council's former chief, who left the authority in July with a payoff of £93,000 after spending three months on sick leave."

A quick calculation shows that approaching £200,000 was paid out to the three named in the Private Eye story — enough perhaps to have paid for the resurfacing of long stretches of Coole Lane! Or anything else the council should be doing with taxpayers' money.

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