Row erupts over Ilfracombe company name

Frank Pearson.

Frank Pearson. - Credit: Archant

Councillor confounds colleagues as he registers town’s ‘community company’ in his own name.

Paul Crabb.

Paul Crabb. - Credit: Archant

A councillor has caused a furore ‘to prove a point’ after registering the town’s council’s proposed flagship company One Ilfracombe Limited under his own name.

At a council meeting last night (Monday) it was revealed Frank Pearson had already registered the name of the company earmarked for months to run the government funded neighbourhood community budgets pilot scheme being trialled in the town.

Cllr Paul Crabb told the council Mr Pearson had taken the action a day after an extraordinary meeting voted to transfer the remainder of the £136,500 funding – around £38,000 – to the new company.

He suggested it could be a way to try to sabotage the process, which Mr Pearson has opposed. He said afterwards: “Mr Pearson was repeatedly asked for his intentions on Monday, he refused to answer. His childish actions will now cost Ilfracombe council taxpayers money.”

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But Mr Pearson, who was not at the meeting, told the Gazette today (Tuesday) he had done it to demonstrate the council was acting ‘outside the law’:

“It is a demonstration to them they are wasting public money without due process,” he said.

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“I warned them five or six months ago they were discussing an entity which did not exist. I told them what they were doing was ultra vires, ‘outside the law’, as they hadn’t set up a company but were acting as if they had. I was basically told to shut up.

“It is beyond the wit of man to give money to an organisation that does not exist.”

The council resolved on Monday to delay the transfer of funds to the company and to write a formal letter to Mr Pearson asking the reasons for his actions.

Mr Pearson said it had taken him 20 minutes to register the company online with Companies House and had cost £15. He added: “It is a non trading asset with no bank accounts and has no intention of asking for grants or funds from any organisation or entity.

“It has demonstrated the group which purports to be able to run the town as a private fiefdom through a company have little time for due process or a regard for company law, or how councils should operate.”

Mr Crabb told the Gazette today the company would now be called Ilfracombe Together Limited, but ‘the brand would strongly remain as One Ilfracombe’.

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