The Liberal Democrats have reacted angrily after the Conservatives voted to prevent local Councillors from voting on a controversial planning application to build 2350 houses on the edge of Cirencester.
Bathurst Development Limited submitted plans last year to build a large housing estate at Chesterton Farm on the southwest edge of the Town, the Conservatives have also earmarked the site in their emerging Local Plan for thousands of houses.
Cotswold District Council (CDC) rules currently prevent Councillors from voting on planning applications on their own ward, the Lib Dems put forward an amendment that sought to make a special exemption for the Bathurst application.
After a request from the Liberal Democrats it was recently announced that full Council would decide the application not the usual planning committee.
Councillors Roly Hughes (LD, Chesterton Ward), Ray Brassington (LD, Four Acres Ward) and Jenny Hincks (LD, Watermoor Ward) will now be unable to vote when the application heard.
Cotswold Lib Dem Leader, Cllr Joe Harris (LD, St Michael’s Ward) commented:
“This is an outrageous move by the Conservative administration at CDC, the Bathurst application is the biggest that this authority has ever considered and deserves full scrutiny."
“We requested that the ward members be allowed to vote on this special application, the fact that the full Council are deciding it already shows that the regular rules don’t apply, owning to the huge public interest it is right that this rule be suspended.”
“Three of my Councillors representing the area in and around the application site have had their democratic right stolen from them, they represent over 6000 people. No wonder people are so disenfranchised with politics.”
The meeting is expected to be held in Summer 2017.