THE boss of the company planning to build a £45m railway to Ripley has been dropped as the project’s manager, claim his associates.
Last week it was revealed Desmond McKinley, senior partner of the CES Group Partnership in charge of the railway proposal, was a convicted sex offender.
Mr McKinley strongly denied he was guilty and said he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice and the court case was a “shambles”.
The revelations came to light after another court hearing last month when Mr McKinley, who is on the Sex Offenders’ Register, was convicted of breaching requirements of the Sexual Offenders’ Act 1997, including changing his name and moving address without informing police.
He said he had changed his name from Patrick Shields and had gone to Loughborough because he had a network of friends there.
This week CES Group associates, Daniel Baggaley, 20, from Alfreton and 22-year-old Michael Rogen from Ripley, who had been working with him on the project, claimed they have now severed ties with Mr McKinley.
The pair have a meeting with representatives from Network Rail, which owns and operates the railway line from Little Eaton to Derby, on March 2 to discuss the proposals without Mr McKinley.
Speaking this week, Mr Baggaley said: “It is a decision that me and Michael have made. With his reputation the way it is we felt it best not to keep him on the project. Whether the scheme is totally viable or not depends entirely upon the outcome of our meeting with Network Rail.”
He confirmed they do intend to carry on with the proposals and are looking for a new business partner to replace Mr McKinley.
On Friday, February 11, the pair attended a meeting with representatives from Ripley Town Council as well as parish councillors from Kilburn, Denby, Coxbench and Little Eaton to discuss the proposals.
Ripley town councillor Steve Freeborn, who has opposed the railway plan because it would run along the Ripley Greenway was also present at the meeting.
He said: “If they are going to carry on with the plan they need to get advice from a planning consultant. There is no way the current plan will get permission for all sorts of reasons.”
Mr McKinley was unavailable for comment as the News went to press this week.