Colchester Council held a planning committee meeting last night (14th June) where a vote was taken to appoint a new committee Chairman.
The planning committee met in the Council Chamber in the town hall.
Since the May 3rd Borough elections, a stale-mate between the coalition ‘Alliance’ of Labour, Lib Dem and Highwoods Independents versus the Conservatives has meant senior council officers were required to chair the meeting.
Initially chaired by senior council manager Ian Vipond, Strategic Director of Policy and Place, nine councillors in total attended the meeting. Cllr. Philip Oxford (Ind) had given apologies due to work commitments, and was not able to attend.
The first order of business was to appoint a Chairman for the committee. Cllr. Pauline Hazell (Con) and Cllr. Theresa Higgins (Lib) were both nominated.
Following a vote of attending councillors, Cllr. Pauline Hazell (Con) was appointed, 5 votes in favour to 4 against, making the Tory councillor planning committee Chairman for the remainder of the municipal year.
Conservative party leader, Cllr. Darius Laws said: “The balance of power within Colchester Borough Council remains very tight and the Colchester Conservatives were clear – we felt that we should chair one of three committees. I am therefore pleased we have achieved this albeit in the bizarre circumstances of a coalition member not attending a meeting.
“I have sympathy for the member in question because I know personally how hard it is to attend meetings scheduled for 6pm given the congestion of the A12 and the rail network.”
We have contacted council leader Cllr. Mark Cory and deputy leader Cllr. Tim Young for a quote and will update this story if we receive one.
The next planning committee meeting is due to be held in the Council Chamber on Thursday, 5th July.