Government may have to quash council's 'wrong button' planning decision (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Eric Pickles may be asked to quash Ryedale District Council's 'wrong button' planning decision
A COUNCIL may have to ask Government minister Eric Pickles to revoke the approval of a planning scheme - after a councillor accidentally pressed the wrong button in a controversial vote.
Ryedale district councillor David Cussons accidentally voted in favour of an application to build 260 homes on farmland near Kirbymoorside, North Yorkshire, after earlier arguing the development would stick out like a sore thumb and should not be built on agricultural land
However, when the crucial vote came, he pressed the wrong button on the council's electronic voting system - tipping the result in favour of the application.
Now the authority is embarking on the potentially lengthy process of revoking the decision - which must begin with an extraordinary meeting of the full council.
Chief executive Janet Waggott said they will seek a judicial review, which will decide whether there are sufficient grounds to quash the decision.
If so, the council can then reconsider the planning application again.
If this fails, the chief executive of the council then must refer the matter to the secretary of state, who can make a ruling.
Mrs Waggott said: “It’s very rare. I don’t know the last time a decision was revoked, but it’s some years ago.
“Revoking a decision is quite difficult.”
She said there were no plans to ditch the council’s electronic voting methods and return to the traditional method of a show of hands.
“I think the electronic system is pretty reliable. It’s straight forward when you are voting yes or no. It’s just difficult when you are voting against something; a double negative.”
Firstly the full council must vote on whether it should proceed with referring the matter to higher authorities when it meets at Lady Lumley's School, Pickering, on Monday October 21 at 6.30pm - not far from the site of the proposal.
As the meeting will not be held in council chambers, where the electronic voting system is installed, councillors will vote by a show of hands.
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