/ Fierce backlash as residents launch complaints over Councillors conduct during a planning meeting.
The planning committee were never in for an easy ride with such a divisive and controversial item on the agenda, but regardless of which side of the argument you were on the events that unfolded were surprising and deemed a disgrace by those in attendance.
The matter in hand, the proposal for a new primary school in Tunstall.
With the majority of opposition coming from the residents of Tunstall and fevered support from parents who by and large don’t live in the village, the last few months have witnessed counter argument after counter argument both for and against the proposals.
So it came as something of a surprise to find that approval for the scheme was apparently given within less than five minutes with virtually no serious debate what-so-ever.
One astounded resident who was in attendance said “this was a stitch up and that a pre-determined decision was taken before members entered the council chamber”
However the main cause for compliant was levelled at the alleged conduct of Cllr Colin Prescott who according to one member of the gallery was
“rude and I'm afraid very insulting towards the people of Tunstall that are opposing this application, I would expect a public apology from this member.”
Another compliant added
“The unwarranted comments made by Cllr Prescott were wholly unacceptable. They did not relate to the planning application, but were a personal attack on the whole village of Tunstall.”
Not surprisingly Cllrs Alan and Jean Willicombe who’s ward the application is part of failed to attend and to make matters worse their Tory colleagues, Cllr Sylvia Bennett and Cllr Derek Conway who are meant to be dealing with residents' concerns on their behalf also didn’t speak at the meeting.
Cllr Monique Bonney who tried to intercede on behalf of the residents of Tunstall was apparently continually chastised by the chairman and was therefore unable to voice all her concerns.
Opposition Cllr Roger Truelove tweeted “Swale Planning Committee raises no objections to KCC planning application for school in Tunstall. No serious debate took place.”
Whilst it has been pointed out that Swale Borough Council are themselves only consultees of KCC and not the final decision maker it appears that very little time was afforded to what after all constitutes a major planning application.