Bucks Council rejects motion to include opposition councillors in development of major housing plan

One councillor was concerned that Aylesbury would not get a fair hearing during the process
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Bucks Council rejected a motion to include members of the opposition on the key planning document the local authority is preparing.

A motion to include councillors from outside the Conservative Party on the Local Plan for Buckinghamshire was voted down 80 to 25.

Councillor Stuart Wilson, an independent politician, put forward the motion at yesterday’s full meeting (12 July).

Councillor Stuart Wilson proposed the motionCouncillor Stuart Wilson proposed the motion
Councillor Stuart Wilson proposed the motion

In his motion the councillor described the local plan, which is set to be released in 2025, as “one of the most significant actions” the local authority will take.

Ahead of the vote Councillor Peter Cooper, who represents the Liberal Democrats, said: “Planning is an area that all of us have to face day-to-day. It is one of the most contentious, important things about the job we do.

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"I think it is really important when we look at the new local plan, that we get it right. We’re talking about proper representation of the whole council. Let’s not forget that we are elected by members of the public.

"If you look at Aylesbury as an area, we have a situation here where a majority of local members are not from the Conservative administration. So we are concerned for Aylesbury that it will not get a fair hearing.”

Three Conservative councillors highlighted the fact that there is no constitutional requirement for members of other parties to be included in planning committees.

Another, Councillor Jonathan Waters called the motion “absurd”, saying that including the chairs of every planning committee was the obvious move.

He said the motion would lead to the council authorising a “flabby rather than focused group”.

Councillor Thomas Broom added: “Actually, I think this council has a very good record on scrutiny. We have a very robust select committees that are both recognised and acclaimed.”

On Bucks Council’s website it states the key aims of the local plan are to meet the social, economic, and environmental needs of Buckinghamshire, to provide more better quality places, and more comprehensive and predictable delivery of all kinds of infrastructure.

Housing, and the make up of local communities are key components of the plan, which will scrutinise roads, schools, and health facilities around developments. And also the environmental impact of these constructions.