Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner
from Councillor John Anderson
I have, last week, contacted Larne Borough Council
(Chief Executive and Chief Environmental Health Officer), the
Chief Local Government Auditor (N.I.), Mr J Buchanan and H.M.
Customs and Excise regarding a landfill site at Ballyrickard Road
Larne owned by, and licenced to Mr Beggs.
There are a number of issues relating which I believe
constitute unacceptable practice on the part of an MP.
1. The site was licenced (licence no. 01/94)
for inert waste only, in 1994. Council records detail complaints
indicating unlicenced tipping on the site prior to that year.
Neither the site nor any income derived from same
are listed in the register of members' interests.
2. Although the site is licenced for inert waste
only, I have documentary and photographic evidence showing that,
not only is the site used regularly to dispose of active waste,
but that much of that active waste consists of material arising
from Larne Borough Council contracts. This has been happening
without the knowledge of senior Council staff and presumably evaded
payment of Landfill Tax at the much higher active rate. The contractor
is apparently a friend of Mr Beggs.
As a long serving Councillor, former Mayor and Chair
of Finance Committee and MP for the area, Mr Beggs did not declare
an interest when approving payments on these contracts at Council
It should also be explained that the site is a rural
wetland area adjacent to a trout fishery and draining into a trout
river which the local angling group is upgrading a re-stocking
aided by grant of Public Money.
3. The Borough Council awards such contracts
as a Statutory Body and, as such, would expect that active waste
material would be dealt with in accordance with the appropriate
legislation and that Landfill Tax would be paid at the due rate
at a properly licenced site.
I believe that, in this case, there has been at the
very least, a serious betrayal of public trust.
4. In our Borough at the moment there is a very
contentious major planning application. The proposal involves
the sale of the Council land and the loss of a one hundred year
old public promenade and Public Right of Way in favour of a £13m
private development of apartments and a marina. Planning Service
has received over 2000 written objections to date.
Mr Beggs is on public record urging Councillors to
reserve apartments at the marina for their retirement.
At a recent Council meeting a minute of a previous
meeting was produced for ratification. Contained within was an
apparent Council decision in favour of the scheme which, if ratified,
would have been of great value to the developer. The minute hinged
on what Cllr Beggs and a colleague had apparently proposed and
was subsequently proved to be a fiction. I was harangued and berated
by Cllr Beggs until I produced the transcript of the tape recording.
Cllr Beggs, another Cllr and a Council Officer have
been unable, and have indeed refused, to offer any explanation.
5. Ratepayers have suggested to me that Mr Beggs,
possibly together with other individuals, has undeclared property
interests, possibly in the Inver area of Larne.
I will be happy to furnish detail that you may require
on these complaints.
6 February 2001