The new chair of a Bucks County Council committee has been accused of bringing the council into disrepute after joking about residents who were unhappy with a decision made on a planning application.
Roger Reed, Conservative councillor for Denham, was voted in at the start of the council’s development control committee meeting on Monday.
Later in the meeting, the committee agreed to grant a planning application for the continued use of land for a waste transfer and recycling operation at Red Brick Farm in the village.
At the end of the meeting, which around 40 villagers attended, some voiced their displeasure by calling out things including ‘you should be ashamed of yourselves’ and ‘outrageous.’
The webcast of the meeting stays on Cllr Reed while this happens and after a few calls of displeasure he can be seen putting his hand over the microphone before whispering to the councillor next to him, Netta Glover, the previous chair of the committee ‘I suppose it makes them feel a bit better’ and laughing.
You can watch the incident for yourself in the video above.
Rachael Webb, a resident of Stewkley parish, who spoke on behalf of villagers at the meeting said: “The chairman’s aside at the end of the meeting was discourteous and unprofessional.
“Not only has he stamped on a lovely community, he thinks it’s OK to joke about it.
“He and his committee have brought Bucks County Council into disrepute.”
Cllr Reed stood by his comments saying: “They were driven by the verbals that I was receiving from people as they left.”
Asked if he felt they brought the committee into disrepute he said: “People are entitled to their opinion.”
Mr Reed added: “In the view of the committee there were no reasons why planning permission could not be granted in this case.”
On the decision itself, Mrs Webb added: “To say I am disappointed at the committee’s decision is an understatement.
“I don’t know why they bothered to allow the public to speak, because they ignored all we had to say.
“They myopically followed the officer’s report, when just one intelligent question could have brought that house of cards tumbling down.”
Mrs Webb spoke against the application at the meeting as did Stewkley Parish Council chair Keith Higgins and Bucks County Council area member Janet Blake.
Mr Higgins said: “At the Stewkley Parish Council meeting on Monday evening, following the disappointing planning committee decision at Bucks County Council earlier in the day, the council resolved to write to the Rt Hon James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for housing, communities and Local Government, Rt Hon John Bercow, our MP, Martin Tett, the leader of Bucks County Council, and to Martin Dickman, director of Environmental Services at the county council.
“The letter expressed their serious concerns about the way the meeting and that part of the planning process was managed and requested an immediate review of the report recommending approval.
“The parish council would welcome the opportunity to meet with the authorities to highlight the issues.”