Campaigners' outrage at St Helens councillor's new role

A controversial St Helens councillor who has clashed with residents has been appointed as chairman of the planning committee.

Wednesday, 16th May 2018, 2:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th May 2018, 3:01 pm
Coun Seve Gomez-Aspron
Coun Seve Gomez-Aspron

Coun Seve Gomez-Aspron was given the role today when St Helens Council leader Derek Long confirmed his new cabinet for 2018-19.

The representative for Newton said it was "fantastic" to be appointed to the helm of the committee and he would "ensure a balanced and fair view is heard on upcoming applications".

But the appointment has been met with outrage by residents who clashed with Coun Gomez-Aspron as they fought a planning application for the Florida Farm North site in Haydock.

St Helens Council’s standards committee upheld 12 of 13 complaints made about the councillor in December, the majority about his use of social media.

Paul Parkinson, chairman of the Residents Against The Florida Farm Developments group, told the Reporter: "Quite frankly we are appalled by this insensitive and controversial appointment. This councillor has spent the last 18 months deriding pro-green belt groups in every part of the borough via social media.

"It is only five months since he appeared before the standards committee and found guilty of 12 substantive counts of breaches of the code of conduct. He was censured and was stripped of certain council appointments.

"Now he has been appointed to this influential role. The new leader has disappointed us by the appointment, to say the least. He doesn’t appear to have learned anything from the events of 12 months ago when this same councillor was appointed to lead the Local Plan and then ‘resigned’ a few days later following an outcry in the local press."

Coun Gomez-Aspron was cleared of making offensive remarks to a campaigning resident in 2016.

But in 2015, he was ordered to write a letter of apology to a constituent after insulting her in an online message. Coun Gomez-Aspron abbreviated words to form a grossly offensive swear word in a Facebook exchange.