Some Conservative Councillors voted against the motion (only slightly differently worded) that they had vociferously backed and voted for at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. No debate was aired, to indicate what had caused this complete reversal. A recorded vote was proposed, but firmly rejected ‘en bloc’ by the Tory Councillors. (Of course, it’s not obligatory to follow a whip. As Cllr Tony Howard told a group of EDA members at last night’s meeting, he has voted against the whip at least twice at the DMC.)
Comment on today’s EDDC press release is at this link: http://saveoursidmouth.com/2014/02/27/council-leader-says-eddc-will-be-engaging-with-customers-and-stakeholders-on-office-relocation/
Tony Howard has just put himself in it then.. Because DMC is NOT political and should never under any circumstances be whipped. I am not sure that it might even be illegal to whip a planning committee.
‘Probity in Planning’ was issued by the Local Government Association and the Planning Advisory Service in April 2013 partly as a result of the Graham Brown affair.
It says on page 10, ‘Planning decisions cannot be made on a party political basis in response to lobbying; the use of political whips to seek to influence the outcome of a planning application is likely to be regarded as maladministration’.
The use of the whip at planning meetings was always considered completely unacceptable – for many years before ‘Probity in Planning’ was issued.
So the statement by Tony Howard that a whip had been issued (and he had voted against it) at the EDDC Development Management Committee is an extremely serious matter.