“Residents attending a meeting about East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) reserved matters application for the seafront said members did not debate relevant planning points.
They called for the vote to support the plan be declared invalid. Residents also said Councillor Lynne Elson should apologise to district councillor Megan Armstrong for interrupting her.
An EDDC spokesperson said: “EDDC’s monitoring officer has considered this letter of complaint, but, in a case such as this, neither he nor the council are in a position to interfere with the legitimate decision-making of Exmouth Town Council.”
The spokesperson said concern about the decision would be a legal matter for the courts, and added that even if a councillor had been found in breach of the code of conduct, this would not legally affect the decision.
They added that the monitoring officer had heard a recording of the meeting and ruled there was nothing ‘untoward’ in the exchange between Cllr Elson and Cllr Armstrong.
The spokesperson added that although the application would produce a ‘valid and implementable’ planning permission, only the district council could carry out the development if approved.
However, EDDC has confirmed it only intends to realign the road and carry out the car park works. Therefore, any developers would have to apply for permission for the watersports centre and remainder of the site.
In response, Ron Metcalfe, one of the complainants, said: “We thank EDDC for finally confirming that if the reserved matters application is approved it will result in a valid and implementable planning permission to build.
“The basis of our complaint was an EDDC and town councillor repeatedly claimed this was not the case.
“We remain concerned that the town council decision was made based on misleading and inaccurate information and lack of relevant discussion.”