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Cllr David Wimble has 'nothing to hide' over decision to award council funding to his business

A councillor whose business was awarded almost £19,000 in council funding insists he has "nothing to hide at all".

The decision to give a grant to The Looker Newspaper, which is owned by Cllr David Wimble, has been 'called-in' at the request of three other council members who wish the award of £18,711 from the High Street Fund (HSF) to be scrutinised further.

Cllr David Wimble's business was awarded council funding
Cllr David Wimble's business was awarded council funding

In their request for the the matter to be examined by the Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) overview and scrutiny committee, which meets tomorrow, they claim "there was no formal disclosure of Cllr David Wimble's interest" during the process.

However Cllr Wimble, who represents New Romney as an independent, says all correct procedures were followed.

"I have got nothing to hide at all, bearing in mind I'm the person who put together the High Street Fund in the first place," he said.

"The building that we've taken has been unused for eight years, it's having about £40,000 spent on it, and as a local employer I've got just as much right to the fund as anybody else."

The Looker applied to the HSF for a grant towards the refurbishment and fit-out of new premises in Hythe High Street, which would house a sweet shop and growing model railway business owned by Cllr Wimble's firm.

Folkestone and Hythe District Council leader Cllr David Monk
Folkestone and Hythe District Council leader Cllr David Monk

A decision to award the cash was made by Cllr David Monk, leader of the council, on June 15.

Among the three councillors to call in the decision, Cllr Rebecca Shoob said: "I’ve included my name in the request to look at this decision as I think it’s essential that the public can have confidence in how decisions are made and grant money awarded.

"I think with a decision that directly involves an award to a council member, the information published needs to be as full as possible to demonstrate a fair and transparent process.

"I don't think we have enough information at the moment and it's right that the committee should explore the decision."

The overview and scrutiny committee will meet at 7pm tomorrow at the Civic Centre to consider the matter.

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