THE FIRST Planning Committee meeting of the civic year got underway at the civic offices on thursday night under the stewardship of new chair, cllr Terry Hipsey.
The content of the meeting will be the subject of a separate news report. However, it was clear that the fresh injection of membership would bring a steadying influence to a administrative ship that has found itself in choppy waters if not on the rocks in recent times.
The issue of the extension to Orsett Hall, however, illustrated this. The proposal has foundered on the fact that they want to build on Green Belt land.
Officers re-iterated this on thursday night with reference to the legislation which makes exceptions on the grounds of very special circumnstances.
Councillors began to chip in again with questions on the number of 4 star hotels in the borough etc much to the perceived chagrin of the officers.
A vote was proposed that all would get round the table to discuss this matter. Seven councillors agreed. One disagreed.
The dissenting voice (or hand) was new councillor, Steve Liddiard. Steve had been an officer for a number of years and it could be that he could see that the issue/application was a no-brainer, had been clearly enunciated by the officers and further meetings would bog down the committee and still end up facing the fact that the application is still an inappropriate development on Green Belt land.