Councillor approves housing scheme by mistake when he presses wrong button (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Councillor approves housing scheme by mistake when he presses wrong button
A MAJOR new housing scheme was given the go-ahead after a bungling councillor who opposed the development pressed the wrong button to accept the plans.
Ryedale district councillor David Cussons said he had made “a mistake” when he voted in favour of the 260-home development application - giving the green light to build 210 houses and 50 apartments on farmland near Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire.
He initially said the scheme would “stick out like a sore thumb” and should not be built on good farm land.
However, at a crucial planning committee meeting he pressed the wrong button on the council's electronic voting system and voted for the plan, tipping the result in favour of approval.
Coun Cussons said: “I pressed the wrong button, that’s all that went wrong and I would rather it hadn’t happened. I am disappointed really, I am sorry that’s what happened.
“At this meeting it seemed it had to be passed or the appeal would cost a lot of money,” he added.
Planning permission was approved by a narrow margin with six councillors abstaining, two voting to refuse and two to approve, meaning chairman Coun John Raper cast his deciding vote to approve the plans.
Local residents later spoke of their fury that the housing development would go ahead on the edge of their town, despite widespread opposition.
The town’s mayor, Coun Chris Dowie, also said she was angry with the decision, which flies in the face of town council pleas for the plans to be turned down as too big and outside Kirkbymoorside’s development limits, and because of its proximity to a school.
After the meeting she said: “I think it’s absolutely dreadful and I feel very let down by our elected representatives and the people who advise them.”
Kirkbymoorside resident Mike Gray was elected by other objectors to speak on their behalf at the meeting.
Dozens of residents wrote to the council to fight the plans, which were “totally, totally unpopular”, Mr Gray said.
“The only way people will be able to afford to buy those houses is by driving a long way to work,” he said.
Applicant Gladman confirmed it now planned to market the scheme to builders and developers and said it is unlikely work will start before the middle of 2014, but declined to comment any further.
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