The Harrow councillor responsible for highways has been given permission to comment on issues related to Transport for London (TfL) to clear up any perception of a conflict of interest.

Cllr Varsha Parmar, who is responsible for the environment at Harrow Council, applied for the dispensation as her husband works as a civil engineer for London Underground Ltd, a subsidiary of TfL.

She has recently been unable to comment in meetings on Streetspace schemes, for which she is responsible, due to a perceived conflict of interest.

The Streetspace programme, which includes low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) schemes that encourage people to walk or cycle by blocking some roads with planters, is funded by TfL.

Cllr Parmar subsequently applied to the council’s governance, audit, risk management and standards (GARMS) committee for the dispensation, which was granted yesterday (Tuesday, January 26).

The GARMS committee voted to approve the request on the basis there was “sufficient separation” between the two roles, and it would be “appropriate” to allow Cllr Parmar to take part in Harrow Council decisions involving TfL.

However, the Conservative members of the committee – councillors Kanti Rabadia, Philip Benjamin and Amir Moshenson – said they could not support the proposal as they felt “uncomfortable” with the timing.

They questioned why the request for a dispensation had been submitted now, when Cllr Parmar has held the position of portfolio holder for environment for a number of years.

Council officers said they could not comment on previous advice given to Cllr Parmar, but repeated that this request, based on the evidence presented, should be approved.

A spokesman for Harrow Council said: “Cllr Parmar, as portfolio holder for environment, is responsible for temporary traffic orders.

“The temporary schemes were considered by Harrow’s traffic and road safety advisory panel, and their recommendations were considered Cllr Keith Ferry as deputy leader of the council, who made decisions in relation to them last August.

“The schemes are subject to monthly review, which is scheduled to consider the outcome of the resident consultation, as well as traffic data with a view to making recommendations as to whether they should continue.

“Cllr Parmar has publicly registered that her husband works for London Underground Ltd, which is a subsidiary company of TfL.

“London Underground Ltd has no involvement in the Harrow schemes, but in order to ensure transparency and maintain the integrity of the process, Cllr Parmar sought, and has been granted, a dispensation to allow her to be present and make decisions when the temporary traffic schemes are discussed in future.”