Monday, 19 August 2013

CWaC Strategic Planning Committee: Has it brought itself into disrepute?

Many people, including Batfink Legion (see below), think that the Cheshire West and Chester Council Strategic Planing Committee has brought itself into disrepute since Mike Jones' controversial decision to change the chairman. What do you think?

Below are three examples uploaded to YouTube by Batfink Legion together with a their comments. Please visit YouTube to read more and/or add a comment. I was sent the links via a third party.

Video clip 1) Strategic Planning Committee (June 2013) Our new chairman

'Clowns running the Circus' would be the politest analogy. The previous experienced Chairman was removed for voting the 'wrong way' on an unwanted plan for a Student Village on Greenbelt land. The day after he was replaced by Howard Greenwood (a property developer and a new Councillor with less than one year's experience on the planning committee) , the rejected planning application was re-submitted. We are advised by our Council Leader (Mike Jones) that this was co-incidence. Oh yeah!!

Video clip 2) Strategic Planning Committee (July 2013) Chair refuses to allow cllrs to debate

Following the fiasco at the June 2013 Strategic Planning Meeting (SPC) -- see video 'Cheshire West and Chester - our new Strategic Planning Chairman', The Chairman (Howard Greenwood) was again intent on stifling debate at the July meeting. The clip starts with the Chairman apparently not knowing whether another application is being passed or refused. There is then a gap with the mikes off (can anyone out there lip read and advise what is said?). Pick it up again at about the 2min 30sec marker and see Cllr Greenwood once more in full dictatorial style, refusing to allow debate, refusing again to explain his actions, and showering other Councillors with contempt.

The Nolan principles embodied in 'Probity in Planning' demand openness and accountability. Here in CWAC we have neither.

Video clip 3) Strategic Planning Committee (August 2013) Refusal to amend minutes

Not only does Howard Greenwood once again treat his fellow Councillors with disdain, with the assistance of a Senior Officer and Solicitor and some pliant colleagues he avoids amending the minutes of the previous meeting so that they do not give an accurate record of what took place. This is disgraceful behaviour and if it is not unconstitutional or illegal then it should be. Is it incompetence, misunderstanding or venality? Can you find another explanation? Watch Cllr Greenwood totally failing to deal with the fall-out from his previous aggressive and unconstitutional decision. Watch our Development Planning Manager say that the minutes do not have to reflect the meeting's proceedings.

Watch the issue quashed by a vote split along party lines (planning committees are meant to be un-whipped). Watch the little whispered advice sections - and advise if you can lip read.

My comment: The council, let alone any one committee, certainly appears to be doing their damnedest to bring themselves into disrepute, as can be evidenced from this and many other posts on this blog.