A bid to stop cabinet members being given automatic rights to speak at Crawley Borough Council’s planning meetings was lost.
Amended protocols allow both ward members and cabinet members to address CBC’s Development Control Committee if they obtain prior consent by the chair.
Bob Burgess (Con, Three Bridges) said that it was ‘right and proper’ councillors were given an opportunity to speak on issues affecting their residents.
However he did not see any need for cabinet members to speak, and called for that part of the protocol to be deleted at a Full Council meeting on Wednesday December 16.
Bob Lanzer (Con, Pound Hill South and Worth) said: “I see no reason to single out the cabinet members for special rights.
“It seems to me the potential for a conflict of interest, by conferring these rights on cabinet members, the potential for a conflict of interest is maximised.”
But Peter Lamb (Lab, Northgate), leader of the council, argued the opposite was true and the committee could sometimes benefit from hearing the council administration’s policy view.
Richard Burrett (Con, Pound Hill North) explained that when he was a cabinet member he had never attended a DCC meeting, but felt it would have been inappropriate to attend and speak in favour of a planning application.
He added: “That to me is not the role of the cabinet member and I do not believe cabinet members should be given extra powers in a quasi-judicial process.”
Ian Irvine (Lab, Broadfield North), chair of the Development Control Committee, said they could always review the protocol in a few months time if it was not working, but added: “I can’t see we are going to get a huge amount of cabinet members wanting to come and speak to the Development Control Committee.”
The amendment by Cllr Burgess was defeated by 19 votes to 18.
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