A FORMER senior city councillor has sparked anger over an alleged conflict of interest by taking on a paid role with Boomtown.

Lisa Griffiths, a Conservative, is working as a 'community support advisor' for the festival due to be held on the Matterley Estate in August.

Opponents of the event have criticised her saying she cannot represent her electors in the Alresford and Itchen Valley ward and the music festival.

One, who asked not to be named, added that the appointment raised questions about how the council was handling Boomtown. The event has grown in recent years to 65,000 people with a proposal to increase it to 76,000 in 2020.

He said: "Cllr Lisa Griffiths is to be congratulated for being the first person on the city council to admit that she is being paid by Boomtown but some locals will wonder if there are others."

Her former colleague in the Alresford and Itchen Valley ward, Kim Gottlieb, who is now a Liberal Democrat councillor, said: “I look forward to her explanation but, on the face of it, Cllr Griffiths seems to have a significant and unacceptable conflict of interests. She was elected to represent the good folk of Alresford and Itchen Valley. Boomtown is a major event in the locality, and she can’t work for both the festival organisers and residents at the same time."

Cllr Griffiths said she started a couple of weeks ago and has updated the register of interests.

She denied a conflict of interests: "I already represent the views of residents that have concerns about the event and that is something I will continue to do. My role is to talk to residents and advise Boomtown on how they communicate and explore what they could do better."

It would not affect her role as a councillor: "It will not stop me saying what needs to be said. It is an opportunity to improve things for residents which is why I took it."

She said she had now has no decision-making role at the city council with the Conservatives losing control at the elections last month. She said she would not have taken the role if she was still on the Cabinet as she would not have had the time.

Cllr Griffiths declined to say how much she was being paid for the three-day a week role.

A statement from Boomtown said: "Cllr Griffiths has been appointed in a consultant based role. Her role within the organisation will be to advise us on how best to deepen our channels of communication within the local community to ensure that we are utilising the most effective method so those who are most affected by the festival are aware of what's going on and how best to communicate any issues or concerns.

"As a councillor of many years, Lisa's professional experience and knowledge of the local area, supporters and objectors alike, felt like a great opportunity for us to further develop positive relationships and dialogue within the local community."