Planning 'farce'

PUBLISHED: 01:01 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:53 10 June 2010

MONDAY'S town planning meeting was branded 'a farce' when too few councillors turned up to make any decisions. Twenty-five applications were scheduled for recommendation at Monday's planning meeting at the town hall, writes David Beasley. The committee ha

MONDAY'S town planning meeting was branded 'a farce' when too few councillors turned up to make any decisions.Twenty-five applications were scheduled for recommendation at Monday's planning meeting at the town hall, writes David Beasley.The committee has 14 members, but the minimum number, or quorum, to make any recommendations to the district council is eight - and only seven councillors showed.This left the meeting with too few members - or 'inquorate' - sparking dismay by several members, both Conservative and Lib Dem, that the public was not getting a fair deal.This situation was exacerbated when on several applications councillors had to leave the room after declaring interests - effectively meaning that some applications were supported by just five members.Not one member from the Brixington Ward was available to decide the plans, leaving councillors from other wards, who had a little more than a couple of minutes to scan the details, to decide in their place.Councillor Richard Turner added: "This is a farce."People have put in and paid for these applications and expect us to deal with it properly - and not enough councillors are here to make the decisions."I feel uncomfortable making these decisions without knowing all the facts."People deserve better."Councillor Sandy Sutton, chairman of the finance committee, said: "I don't think we should be making these decisions."Town clerk John Wokersien said: "If councillors don't turn up to the meeting, and there are no members from particular wards, you still have to submit your recommendations to the district council within 21 days."You have a choice; you can either deal with it or say you are unable to comment - in which event the decision will be made without comments from the town council."Councillor Eileen Wragg said: "It would help if councillors who can't attend meetings could send in their comments."The town council confirmed that, although the recommendations would be carried, they would be have to be ratified at the next planning meeting.

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