Planning meeting complaint
PUBLISHED: 12:06 10 March 2006 | UPDATED: 21:46 28 May 2010
FENLAND councillors may be asked to-reconsider a planning application following an investigation into the planning meeting which voted narrowly to reject it. Councillor Martin Curtis, chairman of Fenland District Council's planning committee, confirmed th
FENLAND councillors may be asked to-reconsider a planning application following an investigation into the planning meeting which voted narrowly to reject it.Councillor Martin Curtis, chairman of Fenland District Council's planning committee, confirmed this week he had asked council officers for an update on the application by Councillor Robert Sears, a Manea farmer and a member of Fenland Council, to build a home for his farm manager at Fodder Fen Road, Manea.Cllr Curtis said: "I am aware of the issues surrounding this application but I cannot provide any more information at the moment. I have asked, however, for details of the council's constitution."Fenland Council confirmed it have received a complaint from Peter Humphrey, the agent who acted for Cllr Sears, who farms 4,100 acres and wants his manager to live between two existing farm blocks. Mr Humphrey said he complained after realising Councillor Peter Murphy, who took the chair during the debate over the farm house, was a cabinet member and therefore, under the council's constitution, ineligible to chair a planning committee.Cllr Curtis withdrew the first time the application was considered in January since he knows Cllr Sears, and his deputy, Councillor Dee Laws, took over.Cllr Curtis said he had helped campaign for Cllr Sears during the recent by-election when Cllr Sears won the vacant Fenland seat caused by the resignation of Councillor Pop Jolley.However, after councillors voted to postpone the decision for a month to enable a site visit to be made, his deputy Cllr Dee Laws, was absent and so Cllr Murphy stepped in.Although officers recommended refusal, councillors voted 2-2 on the issue, with Cllr Murphy using his chairman's casting vote to defeat the application.Mr Humphrey has now received a response from the council confirming an offer to re-hear the application."They have responded, but I am not happy with the response," he said. "The constitution is clear and as far as I am concerned its up to councillors to know the constitution."A Fenland Council spokesman confirmed a letter had been received from Mr Humphrey in connection with Cllr Sears' application, and added: "We are investigating the matter. We do not have any further comment to make at this time.