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Councillor resigns over £500k Llanfyllin school EU bus row

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A prominent county councillor has stepped down after a school broke EU rules by spending £500,000 to transport pupils on buses from outside its catchment area.

Councillor Darren Mayor, Powys County Council's cabinet member for property, buildings and housing, resigned from his position yesterday.

Councillor Mayor, who represents the Llanwddyn ward and is a member of Llanfyllin High School's governing body, resigned from the cabinet following a cabinet decision in response to Wales Audit Office concerns that the school was spending the money on subsidising the transport costs of pupils from outside its catchment.

It was revealed that the school had broken EU rules and council policy, as it failed to tender the bus service for the 149 students from Shropshire and 38 from Powys given transport.

An independent investigation has now been launched and the chief executive of Powys County Council, Jeremy Patterson, said it would be completed as quickly as possible.

In a letter to the Leader of Powys County Council, Barry Thomas, Councillor Mayor said: "It is with great regret that I feel compelled to resign my position from the cabinet of Powys County Council (PCC), with immediate effect.

"Since the cabinet made its decision on Llanfyllin High School's proposal it has become clear to me that, due to my involvement as a local authority governor of Llanfyllin High School, I must take responsibility for the governing body's failure to fully implement Regulation 5.2.

"However, in resigning I must make it clear that this failure has, for five years, been tacitly approved of by council officers and the council has made material gains from this failure to comply. At no point has the governing body ever hidden the use of its delegated budget and each year this transparency has been evident when budgets have been approved by the education department.

"My own integrity has demanded that I sacrifice my position on the cabinet. In turn I hope that others, no matter their position or level of responsibility within the PCC, will likewise consider their own position and take the appropriate action."

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