In a bizarre move, the Lab / Lib Coalition running Brentwood Council has blocked a motion to bring the Crossrail Planning Application to Full Council, which would have allowed all councillors to have a say and a vote on the proposals.
It had been hoped that the motion, put forward by Conservative Group Leader, Louise McKinlay would gain cross party support but this was not to be.
Louise said, “Crossrail is a major project for the whole of Brentwood. It is only right that all councillors, regardless of party get not only to take part in the debate of the planning application but also to have a vote on the final decision, so as to represent the interests of their residents. As it stands, the usual process would mean that the application would be decided by unelected Council officers and for such a significant scheme, this is just wrong. I cannot understand why the other parties would not support this.”
The motion had proposed that the Planning and Development Control Committee ( PDCC) first look at the plans and pass it to Full Council with a recommendation for a final decision to be taken by all councillors.
Deputy Group Leader, Roger Hirst whose Hutton South ward borders Shenfield Station added, “ My residents will very much be affected by the works when they are being carried out. I would have liked to have had the opportunity to speak up on their behalf and to have been able to vote. The coalition claim to favour an approach based on openness, transparency and fairness but their actions here prove otherwise.”
“With limited decision making powers over the project, it is vital that the Council speaks with one strong voice when putting forward points of concern to Crossrail. To have the backing of Full Council when doing that, would have strengthened the position,” said Louise. “Instead, the ruling coalition have decided to play politics and deny councillors the chance to do their jobs and that is simply shameful.”