TEN Conservative councillors have filed a formal complaint about Bournemouth's Tory council leader, John Beesley.

It was handed personally to the council's top officer, Jane Portman, late on Wednesday afternoon by elected four members.

The complaint - which has been filed with five specific allegations, follows weeks of heightened concern over Cllr Beesley's business activities and his consultancy company Hospitality Solutions.

The paperwork delivered to Mrs Portman outlines complaints about alleged breaches of the council's code of conduct and claims that Cllr Beesley has failed to properly make declarations of pecuniary interests under the Localism Act 2011.

Specifically it refers to:

Failing to comply with the Council’s Protocols - disclosure by members of pecuniary interests

Declaration of interests

Compromising or trying to compromise the impartiality of officers

Allowing his/her conduct or behaviour to bring disrepute on the council or compromising the council’s duty to promote and maintain high standards

Using or attempting to use his/her position improperly for his/her or any other person’s gain or loss

Bullying, harassing or intimidating other people

Although concerns have been long-running, the current controversy was sparked after the departure last month of chief executive, Tony Williams with a £394,000 pay off.

The Daily Echo subsequently published an investigation into Cllr Beesley's business activities and the matter was raised in Parliament by Christchurch MP, Chris Chope.

Mr Chope speculated that Mr Williams payout was intended to derail a supposed planned inquiry into whether Cllr Beesley business affairs were compromising his council duties.

Mr Beesley has stated there was no investigation and there is no conflict of interest in his work for developers such as Quantum and Fresh Lime Developments (on the controversial Belvedere hotel).

A growing number of senior Conservatives have expressed concerns privately in recent weeks about what they say is a lack of transparency in Mr Beesley's business work, much of which ends up in planning applications to his own council, where as leader he is a hugely powerful political figure.

Their worries have grown following the general election announcement with fears that more publicity could damage the campaigns of MPs Tobias Ellwood in Bournemouth East and Conor Burns in Bournemouth West.

Mr Beesley denies any conflict of interest and says his critics - who he claims include the Daily Echo - have their own agendas.

However he has refused to disclose who he works for, what work he has done and how much he is paid.

His entry in the council's register of interests only mentions Hospitality Solutions with no additional detail. He is also co-owner of the Yenton Hotel.

One senior Conservative told the Echo: "The situation with John is untenable. Many of us believe it is damaging the reputation of the Bournemouth, the council and the Conservative party."

The complaint will now be passed to the monitoring officer, Tanya Coulter, to begin an investigation.

Cllr Beesley told the Echo: "It would be completely inappropriate for me to comment as this could jeopardise fair consideration of the matter through the due and established council process."

Mrs Portman added: “I confirm I have received a complaint alleging a breach of the Code of Conduct by Cllr Beesley. In accordance with the established process for dealing with allegations of breach of the Code of Conduct, this will be referred to the Monitoring Officer. It would be inappropriate for me to comment further as this could jeopardise fair consideration of the matter.”

John Beesley: A factfile

JOHN Beesley has been leader of the council for five years and was previously chairman of the planning board.

He is a highly experienced political operator and runs a tight ship at town hall.

He has spearheaded the recent development of the town through his 'town centre master vision' and the setting up of the Bournemouth Development Company.

He has led the initiative to merge Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch into a single unitary authority.

In his business life he says he offers advice on planning for new build hotel and leisure development as well as hotel, catering and leisure contract management and marketing.

His website says: "Hospitality Solutions aims to establish a long term relationship with clients by providing a very reliable, high quality service at an effective cost price.

"John Beesley is a highly experienced operator with a strongly developed instinct for identifying and solving problems in the hospitality industry."