Accusations of councillors of not “filling up Rotherham with properties and congestion” flew at the meeting, from councillor Peter Short, a non-aligned councillor and Rotherham Democratic Party councillor John Turner, who both resigned from the board mid-meeting.
Councillor Short told the board: “It seems to me that manipulation of statistics to get a planning application put through is wrong. I’m rapidly losing faith in the planning board, and the decisions it takes and I have to tell you, chairman, I’m sorry but I’m going to resign from the board, and I’m going to resign from this meeting.”
Councillor Turner added: “I sometimes wonder whether the planning board, and the planning officers, is there to appraise the planning situation, that at all costs produce a positive result.
“I’m really concerned about the whole of Rotherham, in that I think we’re filling it up with properties and congestion and reducing amenity, and I mentioned this a lot of times.
“For over a year now. I’ve complained about the fact that we’re reducing the amenity seriously.
“We’re not properly considering what we’re doing in the spirit of building, building, building. I sometimes thing that the Planning Officers brief is to produce a yes to everything that’s going on. There will be more council tax, but nobody will be able to move out of their drive.
“We want to take control of our towns, it’s already too late. Instead of this monetary run that we want to get more and more money. I’d just like to say that I’m going resign.”
However, Labour councillor John Williams told the meeting: “Some of the accusations or criticism about the decision making process – it’s unfair and inaccurate of accusing this committee of not listening to the public.”
He added that the point of the meeting is that he public can attend and have their say.
“It’s deeply disappointing some accusations that were levied or implied against officers. If any of us feel very strongly about an application, argue your case…and cast your vote. Don’t walk away from the meeting,” he added.
Chair of the board, Labour councillor David Sheppard said that as members of the board “we are not a political board.
“In fact we were not even a ward board because we have to make decisions in a responsible manner that affect different wards.”