A Winchester city councillor who broke code-of-conduct rules was told by a member of the standards committee this week that his actions were "sloppy".

Frank Pearson decided not to declare that he was a councillor when he submitted a planning application to build a conservatory at his Swanmore home for fear of receiving preferential treatment.

Because the application was in his wife's name, it was agreed by officers rather than the planning committee.

But according to protocol, Mr Pearson should have notified the planning department.

When officers heard of the breach, the first-time Tory councillor was called before the council standards committee, which polices members' actions.

Lib-Dem councillor, Ray Love, said: "We are all fallible and we all make mistakes but to have your wife's name on a planning application was sloppy and really shouldn't have been allowed to happen."

Committee vice-chairman, George Fothergill added: "One of the first things you pick up is that you don't put in a planning application without telling anybody. That's the one thing everybody gets hold of pretty quickly."

However, other councillors spoke out to deflect blame from Mr Pearson, who claimed he did not know about the rule.

Tory leader, Freddie Allgood, attended the meeting specially to give his statement.

"I have to hold up my hand and say I did not specifically refer to this requirement in the training. If anyone's at fault I suppose it's myself," he said.

Tory, Ernest Jeffs, on the standards committee, admitted: "I nearly blundered into this state myself last year."

Kenneth Carter added: "There but for the grace of God go a lot of us. These codes are lengthy and complicated."

Given a chance to comment at the meeting, Mr Pearson said: "It's ironic. By stepping back and keeping quiet in trying not to get special favours, I broke the code rule designed to stop councillors getting special favours. It's a Catch 22 situation."

He added that his wife only signed the planning application papers because he was at a parish council meeting at the time.

Committee members decided to take no further action, but officers agreed to tighten up training for new members.

They will also look into the possibility of providing a "frequently-asked questions" section for members on the city council's website.