|SDC Corporate Director Bob Brown (pictured above attempting to|
get protestors to vacate the doomed Splash pool) today admitted Tesco's
planning fees were paid by the County Council
Addressing the meeting, Cllr Julian Taylor (Labour Eastover) outlined the facts of the case saying that it was "Morally indefensible that council tax payers money should be spent subsidising a multi billion pound corporation" and that it was now "right and proper that the Council called a special meeting of the Scrutiny committee to investigate how this happened with all the correspondence involved along with the Chief Executive who made the decision."
Cllr Ian Tucker (Labour Dunwear) said "The council has got to be seen to be acting fairly."
|Labour leader Cllr Mick Lerry "This is NOT|
a minor matter- any refusal to scrutinise would
be seen as a smokescreen"
Bob Brown, standing in for Kerry Rickards, said "This issue is a planning matter and the only decision to be made now will be by the Development Control Committee in deciding the planning application on planning grounds. The neccessary fee has been paid in full - not by Tesco but by one of the landowners, Somerset, but this is not unusual. This matter does not prejudice Sedgemoor District Council in it's role as Planning Authority and the application must proceed untainted."
"Not Sedgemoors problem"
Cllr Jane Moreton (Conservative,Huntspill) said she "wasn't opposed to scrutinising the way planning fees are dealt with" but felt "this is not Sedgemoors problem as it is Somerset who paid the bill."
Cllr Nobby Turner (Conservative Kingsisle) added "Sedgemoor have not paid a damn thing so it;s up to County if they want to scrutinise this. If this is just another attempt to kick Tesco's into a hole then I'm having nothing to do with it."
Cllr Bob Filmer (Conservative Brent) Chair of Development Ctte said "SDC has not paid SCC has, I really don't think it's up to us to look into this."
The meeting voted 6.4 to reject a special meeting with the 6 Tories voting to reject and the 3 labour and 1 Highbridge Independent voting for further scrutiny.
"seen to be transparent"
Chairman Cllr Brian Smedley (Labour Westover) said "The purpose of this committee is to scrutinise Sedgemoors proceedures and to be seen to be transparent in doing so. All we're asking for is a level playing field-before someone builds a supermarket on the one we have."
|"Labour County Council Group leader Cllr Andy Govier|
has agreed to refer the matter to County Scrutiny"
Cllr Dave Loveridge (Labour County Councillor for Bridgwater North) said after the meeting "I have asked the Labour chair of Scrutiny on County, Andy Govier, to put this matter on the agenda of the next County Scrutiny committee. County are asking people to accept 150 million pounds of cutbacks to services and at the same time it turns out they're paying the planning fees of a company that made 35 billion pounds profit!"
Cllr Brian Smedley said "In a round about way the Scrutiny process worked. We investigated a very controversial issue , got it into the public domain and members recognised the need for further scrutiny. It will be interesting to see what response County give now that Sedgemoor have basically said 'it wasn't us it was them!'."