An independent investigation has been requested following serious allegations about Whitehaven Town Council's conduct.

The authority is holding an extraordinary meeting today after a number of concerns were raised by four councillors - Edwin Dinsdale, Gemma Dinsdale, Carla Arrighi and Ryan Redmond.

The four councillors allege that the council is guilty of disability discrimination, failure to comply with procurement contract processes, health and safety breaches and shortfalls in accounting, among others.

They want a vote to be held on the proposal of an internal investigation into the concerns.

Issues relate to the council's activity while it was operating under the High Consequence Infectious Disease Policy, with delegated powers to make decisions on the council's behalf being given to the chairman, Brian O'Kane and the deputy chairman at the time, Carla Arrighi.

A report submitted ahead of tonight's meeting, which is to be held via conferencing platform Zoom at 6pm, explains the allegations: "The town council has relocated its offices from the Whitehaven Civic Hall to the old Whitehaven News building without having any risk assessments done relating to disability, before moving into the new premises.

"The town council did not follow the Local Government Procurement Process in requesting three tenders to be submitted for work and contracts that needed to be done.

"The Whitehaven Town Council paid over the odds for hand sanitiser - £270 for five litres of hand sanitiser gel.

"The Whitehaven Town Council chair did not declare a payment of £1,200 which was made to a family member.

"The money was paid to a company that organised an Allerdale-based campaign which is outside of the Whitehaven Town Council boundary.

"There is no evidence to suggest that the council tax payers of Whitehaven have directly benefitted from this donation.

"The deputy chair [who at the time was Carla Arrighi] did not know anything about this payment and did not agree to the payment being made.

"Councillor Carla Arrighi publicly resigned as the deputy chair of the Whitehaven Town Council while the council worked under the High Consequence Infectious Disease Policy, claiming the process had a lack of openness and transparency. Councillor Arrighi claimed that the chair would overrule her as the deputy chair. The deputy chair believed the town council should adopt a virtual meeting position and felt that some information was being withheld from her."

The report adds that an independent investigation would produce recommendations to the council which would be useful in the case of a second coronavirus spike. To view the meeting visit and join with the Meeting ID: 822 7875 6898 and passcode: 094294.