Councillor leaves Conservatives after being sacked from committee over local plan vote

A councillor who lost his spot on a county planning committee after voting against his party's housing plans will be returning – as an independent.

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

Councillor Robert Tindall, who represents Brown Clee on Shropshire Council, revealed last week that he had been sacked as vice chair of the council's south planning committee, and had also lost his seat on the committee.

It came after he had voted against the authority's local development plan being submitted for examination by a government-appointed planning inspector.

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 in Shropshire from 2016 to 2038.

The Bridgnorth proposals have provided major controversy, with the council allocating land at Tasley for a 1,050-home development – something Councillor Tindall had opposed in his election pitch to the public in May.

The inclusion of the development in the local plan saw him say he had no option but to vote against the proposal last week, leading to his departure from the planning committee.

However, in a surprise turn of events Independent Councillor Dave Tremellen, who represents Highley, offered to give up his seat on the committee, which would allow Councillor Tindall to return.

As a result he has resigned from Ludlow Conservative Constituency Association, and as a member of the Conservative Party, and has applied to join the council's independent group – which has been accepted.

He said: "The sole independent councillor on planning has offered to stand aside for me to go back on which is very noble of him.

"He read what was going on and he sent me an e-mail saying he has only just gone on, because the political balance of the council is such that the independent group is now allocated a seat, and he offered to give up the seat and for me to go back on, which the leader of the independent group has approved and they have welcomed me into the fold."

Councillor Tindall said he hoped to serve his constituents through his time on the committee – having served on the planning committee every year since the authority became unitary in 2009.

He said: "I love the planning, it is very interesting work most of the time and I thought if someone will stand aside for me, I will go back."

He added: "I try and make decisions that follow policy but are also pragmatic and understand that getting or not getting planning permission is very significant for many people."

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