Furious campaign leader accuses Harborough District Council of using case law dating back 175 years to stop him asking a crucial question

The authority says they are simply following established legal processes and the council’s constitution

By Red Williams
Friday, 18th February 2022, 11:23 am
Harborough District Council
Harborough District Council

A furious campaign leader is accusing Harborough District Council bosses of using case law dating back a staggering 175 years to stop him asking a crucial question at a council meeting.

David Campbell-Kelly, 64, wants to quiz the local authority at their meeting on Monday night (February 21) about the “huge amount” of logistics warehousing set to be created in Leicestershire over the next 20 years.

But David, who’s fighting for over 100 villagers in Willoughby Waterleys, near Lutterworth, said he’s being frozen out by the council as staff insist he didn’t put his question forward in time to be considered.

“I simply can’t believe that the council is quoting obscure and ancient case law stretching back over 170 years at me to justify their stance and block us off.

“It just is not good enough because Harborough council is denying me and the people of Willoughby Waterleys our democratic right to put them on the spot,” he told the Harborough Mail.

“This is a pivotal and landmark point of principle for us.

“We want to know where our district council stands on the critical issue of logistical warehousing to be built in Leicestershire over the next two decades or so,” said the retired housebuilding chief and chair of Willoughby Waterleys Residents’ Association.

“We set up our residents’ group here three years ago as it emerged that Blaby council wants to build a massive garden village right on our doorsteps.

“Whetstone Pastures will consist of 6,000 new houses and four million square feet of warehousing – that’s as big as Magna Park near Lutterworth – and it will have a catastrophic impact on all of us here.

“Harborough District Council is now due to tell us if it approves a so-called ‘statement of common good’ on future warehousing schemes set to go ahead in Leicestershire.

“Every other council in the county has already signed up to this.

“We are told we need another 27 million square feet of warehouse capacity in Leicestershire by 2041 – which is just ridiculous,” said David.

Harborough’s councillors were due to discuss this at a meeting on Monday December 13.

But the meeting ran over and had to be adjourned – and it will be resumed this Monday night (February 21).

They will pick up where they left off at 6.30pm on Monday – before holding a new meeting at 8pm that night.

“And they are telling me that I can’t put my critical question on behalf of everyone who lives in Willoughy Waterleys and the surrounding area because I didn’t get it in in time," added Mr Campbell-Kelly.

“I believe that’s just a blatant excuse to stop us having our say and making our views known because we’ve been snapping at their heels for the last three years over this vital issue.

“We are not the right place to build Whetstone Pastures.

“We’ll be absolutely overwhelmed by the incredible influx of much more traffic, more houses and more people.

“I can’t believe that Harborough council are delving all the way back into the 1840s to quote historic case law to stop us questioning them about this gigantic blueprint and their future plans,” said David, who’s lived in Willoughby Waterleys over 30 years.

“It’s incredibly frustrating and the people here are so angry that we are not being allowed to ask Harborough council simply this – where do you stand on this?”

A Harborough council spokeswoman told the Mail: “Unfortunately, there was insufficient time to conclude all business at the council meeting on 13 December 2021.

“Following legal guidance, it has been established that the remaining business from this meeting will need to be considered at an adjourned meeting, which will take place at 6.30pm on 21 February 2021, before the next scheduled council meeting later that evening.”

She added: “In line with established legal processes and the council’s constitution, the deadline for all questions about items on the agenda of the adjourned meeting was 8 December 2021.

“Therefore, questions for the adjourned meeting can no longer be received.”