Harborough planning meeting is declared null and void after a technical breakdown meant the public could not see it

Villagers welcome the decision after a plan was approved for 33 homes in Great Bowden in their absence

Monday, 8th June 2020, 12:08 pm
Updated Monday, 8th June 2020, 12:10 pm
A village council is welcoming Harborough councils move to scrap a controversial virtual planning committee meeting.

A village council is welcoming Harborough council’s move to scrap a controversial virtual planning committee meeting.

Great Bowden Parish Council is backing the district council’s decision to declare the event null and void because of a technical breakdown.

The local authority spoke out after Harborough councillors narrowly voted by five to four to back a new under-fire 33-home estate in Great Bowden.

The district council is now gearing up to remotely re-run the meeting before the same planning committee on Tuesday June 16.

“Great Bowden Parish Council is pleased that Harborough District Council has reviewed its policies and procedures and concluded that as the virtual planning meeting held on Tuesday June 2 was not in accordance with its policies and procedures.

“Therefore that meeting is void,” said the parish council.

“We understand a planning committee meeting will be convened on Tuesday June 16 when all applications scheduled for June 2 will be heard.”

Cllr Phil Knowles, who leads Harborough council’s Liberal Democrats and represents Great Bowden, told the Harborough Mail: “I am delighted that the meeting is to be re-run.

“This was the only sensible course of action since the public and Press could not access the meeting.

“But I am concerned that if the same nine councillors sit again to decide this development in Great Bowden they will have already made their minds up.”

Cllr Knowles slammed the Barwood Homes scheme.

“It’s simply unacceptable that another 33 new homes could be built in the pretty, historic village of Great Bowden,” he insisted.

“The village is already far too congested and over-crowded.

“A line has now got to be drawn in the sand and this application turned down for the good of every single villager.”

A Harborough District Council spokesman said: “It is a requirement that remote council meetings are available for public view.

“Therefore, the meeting did not satisfy regulations and, as a result, will be reconvened and the planning applications reconsidered.”

He added: “The council sincerely apologises to all affected.

“The meeting has been rescheduled for Tuesday 16 June 2020 at 6.30pm, with additional measures put in place to support the live webcast.

“Information about how to access the virtual meeting, and how to make representations at the meeting, will be made available on the council's website.”