A council leader is at the centre of a police probe over an allegation he took part in a vote to close a public toilet in Weymouth – despite owning the buildings next door.

Leader of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, Jeff Cant, is under investigation for alleged "improper conduct" after participating in the controversial vote to close the toilets in Bond Street in September 2016.

Cllr Cant vehemently denies wrongdoing, and said he was 'outraged' at suggestions he had gained financially from the sale.

Cllr Cant is director of Silversurfing Limited, a company which owns two buildings adjacent to the former toilet site on the corner of Bond Street and the Esplanade.

Rules outlined in the Localism Act of 2011 state councillors must declare pecuniary interests upon becoming a council member.

Councillors cannot participate in discussions or vote on matters declared of interest in council meetings unless granted an exemption.

In June 2016, in his Register of Members' Interests, Cllr Cant made a declaration that he had a beneficial interest in properties, 14 and 15 Bond Street.

However, Cllr Cant took part in the discussion and the vote to close the public toilets at a management meeting on September 20, 2016.

Speaking to the Echo today, Cllr Cant said as he was relatively new to the job at the time, he had not been fully aware of the bureaucratic rules and, on seeking guidance at the meeting, had been advised that no further action was necessary.

"I did what I thought was best at the time. Everyone knew where I stood." he said.

However, when concerns were raised by a member of the public about the public conveniences in a management committee meeting just one month before, (August 2016), Cllr Cant had declared his Bond Street interest.

The Echo questioned Cllr Cant last year about his registered interest and the vote, and he strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

Cllr Cant said today he believed the allegation to be a personal attack by a member of the public "pursuing a vindictive personal campaign."

The toilet building was sold to a couple from Buckinghamshire, for £282,000 in August this year.

A spokesman for Dorset Police confirmed police were investigating an allegation made against a councillor of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council following a referral from the South West Audit Partnership.

They added: "The investigation is into alleged improper conduct relating to their obligation to disclose pecuniary interests."

Matt Prosser, chief executive of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said: “We have acted upon concerns made to us about Cllr Jeff Cant allegedly failing to disclose an interest in a meeting which was to decide the future of the public toilets at 47a The Esplanade, Weymouth.

“We referred the matter to independent auditors to investigate. Having followed their procedure, they have now referred the matter to Dorset Police who are considering the case under the Localism Act.

“We will continue to co-operate with the investigation.”