A COUNCILLOR has hit back after a complaint was made about her new job working for the zoo in Dalton.

Jill Heath Jill Heath began working for South Lakes Safari Zoo as events manager on December 7 last year.

The Evening Mail understands an official complaint has been registered with Barrow Borough Council about Cllr Heath’s new job, highlighting the fact she sits on the licensing committee which regulates the zoo.

Cllr Heath, who represents the Dalton North ward, has declared her new job as councillors are legally obliged to under the council’s code of conduct.

She said: “While trying to develop my own business I identified an opportunity for it to operate, to the mutual benefit of both parties, within the zoo.

“The value and need for a permanent events coordinator was recognised and I was therefore delighted to take up the position which was offered to me.”

Cllr Heath, who refused to disclose details of her zoo salary, has served on Barrow Borough Council twice – from 2007 to 2011 and more recently since last year. During her first tenure her role included sitting on the planning and audit committees. She also represents Dalton North on Cumbria County Council.

Cllr Heath added: “I have sought further and additional advice to ensure that I did not act improperly in any way.

“Furthermore, to ensure that my role as a councillor was both within the code and wholly transparent; at the last licensing committee meeting I provided a substitute and attended purely as an observer, as I am entitled to, and did not speak, participate or influence proceedings in any way.”

The Dalton councillor told the Evening Mail she suspects the complaint has been made by someone who has “an interest in damaging the zoo”.

She described the complaint as “mischief making by those intent on pursuing the demise of one of Cumbria’s biggest private tourist attractions and a business providing employment to a great many people, of benefit to the local economy”.

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