Tories lack of planning delays council meeting

May 13, 2009 2:14 PM
Cllr Catherine Smart

Cllr Catherine Smart

Haphazard Tories forced a planning meeting to be delayed for more than an hour when they failed to turn up.

Officers, opposition councillors and members of the public were left waiting while hurried telephone calls were made to try to rectify the situation.

Only one of the three Conservatives on Cambridgeshire County Council's joint development control committee sent apologies - but failed to nominate an alternative member to take his place.

In desperation, committee chairman, Lib Dem Alan Baker announced that, as a quorum of eight members, including two county councillors, had not been met, he would have to delay the meeting.

Lib Dem executive city councillor Catherine Smart said: "This was rank inefficiency. We had high powered officers, members and applicants waiting to get started and the Tories were nowhere to be seen.

"At first, we had no idea whether they were just late; but as time went on it was clear that they weren't coming, and there were no alternatives to take their places. Clearly, the Tories don't think planning is important enough to bother to turn out for."

Conservatives Gail Kenney, Robert Turner and David McCraith sit on the committee, but only Cllr McCraith sent apologies although failed to nominate an alternative.

Finally after one hour and 15 minutes, councillors managed to summon Tory Linda Oliver, Vice-Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council from her ward in Bassingbourn to make up the numbers.

She joined five Cambridge city councillors, four South Cambridgeshire District Councillors and Lib Dem county councillor, Nichola Harrison, who represents Petersfield in Cambridge, at the meeting.

"It was a complete farce," added Cllr Smart. "How can we expect these Conservative councillors to make sound planning judgements when they can't even plan sufficiently to get to the meeting?"

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