Planning chairman under fire from parish council

AN INVESTIGATION will take place after a controversial planning application in Churchill was given permission by North Somerset Council. District councillors granted consent for a T-Mobile telephone mast to go up in the village at a planning meeting chair

AN INVESTIGATION will take place after a controversial planning application in Churchill was given permission by North Somerset Council.District councillors granted consent for a T-Mobile telephone mast to go up in the village at a planning meeting chaired by district councillor Liz Wells, whose ward includes Churchill.It would be sited in Bath Road, just 40m from an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.Churchill Parish Council claimed it would be inside the conservation zone and had unanimously opposed the plan.However, North Somerset councillors voted without receiving the parish council's views because an objection letter posted by the parish clerk, Lindsay Ireland, failed to arrive at the Town Hall in Weston. The clerk asked David Turner, a senior planning official, to look into the disappearance of the letter, at a parish council meeting on Monday.Mr Turner confirmed he would try to find out what had happened, but also told parish councillors that Cllr Wells, as chairman of south area planning committee, had the power to defer decisions if she thought there was not enough evidence to make a decision.Parish councillor Jackie Bush asked Cllr Wells: "Did you know you had the power to defer something?"Cllr Wells replied she did not. She said: "The officers would have passed it anyway because it was their recommendation."Mr Turner said: "I think it would be useful to provide the councillor with guidance to stop this sort of thing happening again."Parish council vice-chairman Alan Brown said: "This is not the first time the district councillor has done less than serve us well.


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