A planning councillor who declined to vote on the controversial Spalding travellers’ site application has received the support of the committee chairman.
Coun Roger Gambba-Jones says Coun Anthony Casson was right not to take part in last month’s vote, which was tied 6-6. The application was later granted on Coun Gambba-Jones’ casting vote.
Some Cowbit residents were angry that Coun Casson – their ward member – had not even taken part in the debate on the application at last month’s planning meeting, and therefore had not adequately represented their strong opposition. The site, off Drain Bank North, abuts Cowbit parish.
Coun Gambba-Jones said: “Coun Casson was absolutely right to declare an interest at the meeting and exclude himself from the determination. Had he done otherwise and the application subsequently been refused, a judicial review in the High Court could well have followed. He could also have found himself under investigation for breaching the SHDC Code of Conduct.”
In a letter published in the June 12 edition of The Spalding and South Holland Voice, Coun Gambba-Jones says: “Coun Anthony Casson declared an interest when the item was presented at committee, stating that he would not be participating in the debate, nor vote on any recommendations.
“His declaration was based on the fact that he had, on January 17, commented on the planning application via the South Holland District Council website. Two of the seven comments made were: “I wish to strongly object to this application for gypsy and traveller site” and “I hope this application will be refused”.
“Although his comments were recorded as from a resident and not a councillor, they leave little room for doubt that, even before reading any report, or hearing any debate, Coun Casson had set his mind against the proposal for a permanent gypsy and traveller site in the proposed location.”