Democracy rules at council

MAYOR Ron Bellingham has played down the significance of heated exchange which took place at last week’s meeting of the council’s Planning and Environment Committee in Warwick.

Sources told the Daily News committee chairman Councillor Neil Meiklejohn was forced to close the meeting last Wednesday when discussions between councillors and senior planning staff got out of hand.

Cr Bellingham yesterday conceded there had been a “robust” discussion on a range of issues but laughed off suggestions of a recess to allow tempers to cool.

“The discussion coincided with the afternoon tea break, which was probably a case of good timing,” the Mayor said.

“The issue is the willingness of councillors to vary recommendations of officers on approvals and conditions, and that’s causing frustration at times.

“Councillors are required to provide reasons when they go outside the planning scheme, and planning issues tend to be the most controversial of all, but at the end of the day these are democratic decisions.”



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