Probe into councillor’s conduct

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A district councillor is facing a probe into his business dealings amid questions over whether he is fit to stay in office.

Rodney Grocock is under investigation by South Holland District Council’s Conservative group over allegations about his former company, Vantage Businesses Ltd that ceased trading in December 2012.

Mr Grocock faces questions after a Spalding Guardian story two weeks ago in which an elderly couple branded him a “rogue” for refusing to carry out repairs on double glazing fitted at their Cowbit home, despite it having a ten-year guarantee.

The story also included claims by Wellingborough-based Glazerite Windows that Mr Grocock owes more than £17,000 after entering into a contract as a sole trader to supply goods in 2008, meaning he would be personally responsible for the debt should his business fold.

Mr Grocock has denied any wrongdoing and plans to carry on as a district councillor, 
although he has stood down 
as a junior portfolio holder and planning committee member.

He said: “I think I’m a good councillor, I think I do things properly and I look after my constituents.

“It’s just that I had a business that ran out of steam and I feel absolutely gutted about it.

“There’s no way that I would embarrass South Holland District Council because that isn’t my style.

“But I’m no longer a councillor with any clout because I’ve been taken off my junior portfolio role and the planning committee.”

The internal party investigation was launched after a complaint about Mr Grocock was made to district council leader Gary Porter.

He said: “Somebody made a complaint about how Rodney had conducted his business affairs and once I was made aware of the situation, I had a conversation with Rodney and as a result, he asked me to relieve him of his duties.

“The Conservative group is investigating the complaint to see if there are reputational issues for the group.

“I don’t know how long it will take but the complaint has been referred to the Whip for the group.”

Despite the complaint, Mr Grocock said he planned to see out his four-year term as a councillor before the next elections in 2015.

“My company, Vantage Businesses Ltd, finished trading on December 31, 2012, and I don’t trade under that name any more,” he said.

“If I was still trading, I would go out gladly and willingly to put any complaints from people right.

“But I’ve not done a single thing wrong using the word ‘councillor’ and if I went out when I was trading as Vantage Businesses Ltd and said ‘I’m Coun Rodney Grocock, would you buy my windows?’ the council would get rid of me.”

Mr Grocock now works as a self-employed salesman for another company, Vantage UK, but he has declined to answer any questions about it.

He said: “I’m not going to comment on Vantage UK because it’s not council work, but I fully intend to honour my two years left as a councillor.