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Officers criticised in report  

There has been a controversial rap for the planning procedures at East Lindsey District Council.

At a meeting of the Audit Committee, Louth member Coun Derek Smith expressed disquiet at what he witnessed when he attended a planning meeting last year as an observer.

“Facts were not presented impartially by the officers,” he said. “They were put forward in a way designed to sway the members to support officer recommendations.”

Coun Smith’s comments came during the start of the committee’s deliberations on the rumpus surrounding last year’s go-ahead for a 20-turbine wind farm at Conisholme.

“There was a lack of openness and transparency,” he declared.

“It seems information was kept under lock and key – at least for people in Grainthorpe and North Somercotes.”

Noting that an independent report had criticised officers, the Louth member demanded: “Who checks the officers?”

He was cut short by the committee chairman, Coun Graham Gooding, who told him: “I don’t want to go down that road – this isn’t a witch hunt.”

The chairman also rejected a suggestion from Coun Ray Curtis that the Standards Committee should become involved.

“I am sure there are many side issues about the Conisholme application, but there are already mechanisms in place if anyone has done anything wrong,” replied Coun Gooding.

Grimsby Telegraph

29 January 2008

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