Bid to use funds to back animal charity

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DISTRICT councillor Rodney Grocock is under fire for planning to give £500 of public money to care for sick and injured hedgehogs.

News of the councillor’s intentions sparked anger at Moulton Parish Council on Tuesday with members saying money should go to the community and not an animal charity.

Coun Grocock says council rules allow him to make the donation but he will now hang fire – and ditch the plan if public opinion is against him.

Parish councillor Byron Hahn said: “Don’t you think it is an absolute disgrace that a South Holland district councillor can give such an award of money away to these minor projects when you have got villages out here that can’t even get a bus service? It should be withdrawn and put into something sensible.”

Coun Grocock, a Conservative junior portfolio holder, represents Moulton, Weston and Cowbit with Andrew Woolf and Anthony Casson.

So far the trio have agreed joint projects to support from their £4,000 Designated Councillors Budgets. But councillors Woolf and Casson opted out of the hedgehog donation.

Coun Woolf told the parish council: “On this occasion we said we are not putting money towards it, but it is Rodney’s budget. If he wants to spend £500 on hedgehogs there is nothing we can do to stop it.”

Parish councillors believed the money would go to the Leeds head office of a charity, but Coun Grocock wants to give the cash to Spalding’s Alder Veterinary Surgery.

He said Rachel Donaghue, who runs a hedgehog rescue centre in Swindlers Drove, had her funding cut from a charity and he wanted to make sure the welfare work could go on.

Coun Grocock said: “I have not done the paperwork yet. I will now wait and see what public reaction I get to your press release. If there is a negative response – and people tell me not to do it – I will not make the donation.”

He wanted to do something for hedgehogs because they are disappearing from Britain’s gardens.

Mrs Donaghue cared for 100 hedgehogs last winter but is taking a break because it is too much work for one person.

She says vets need money to treat hedgehogs because they can’t afford it from their own funds.