Shropshire councillor sacked from planning committee over local plan vote

A councillor has been sacked from his position on a planning committee after voting against Shropshire Council's local plan – and controversial proposals for 1,050 homes in Bridgnorth.

Robert Tindall, Shropshire Councillor for Brown Clee
Robert Tindall, Shropshire Councillor for Brown Clee

Conservative Councillor Robert Tindall was relieved of his position as vice-chairman of Shropshire Council's South Planning Committee by his party colleague, and the authority's leader, Councillor Lezley Picton.

It came after he failed to back a key vote on the local plan, one of the administration's major policies.

The document sets out where thousands of homes and businesses can be built in every part of the county up until 2038, and has generated major opposition in several towns – particularly Bridgnorth and Shifnal.

Under the proposals set out in the plan, 30,800 homes will be built from 2016 to 2038.

The Bridgnorth proposals have provided major controversy, with the council allocating land at Tasley for a 1,050-home development.

Councillor Tindall, who represents Brown Clee, and has also lost his place as a member of the South Planning Committee, said he had known the consequences of his decision but had made a pledge to voters during the May election.

He said: "I was warned by the leader of Shropshire Council that if I voted against the proposals to bring forward the Taylor Wimpey development for Tasley then I would be sacked, or immediately relieved of my vice-chairmanship of the South Planning Committee and as a member of the committee."

He added: "In the May 6 elections I put in my election address I would continue to fight against unwanted large-scale development in the countryside, but I said I would support low-scale well designed schemes.

"I have been totally true to my electorate and if I voted for the Tasley scheme to go through to the next stage I would have let the electorate down.

"I was going to abstain but decided that was weak and I needed to send a message that the plan is wrong."

Councillor Tindall said he believed the Tasley plan would be 'awful' for Bridgnorth, with a severe impact on roads, education and medical access.

He said: "It is a very pretty area. I think the consequences will be awful. We will have a housing estate tacked on to the historic part of Bridgnorth and I think it will be awful."

Despite Councillor Tindall's opposition the local plan vote was passed by 34 to 28 – with five abstentions.

The plans will now be submitted for examination by a government-appointed planning inspector.

The final version, including any changes made by the inspector, will be adopted next year.

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