Is it legal that a Councillor, having voted one way in a planning meeting, can claim he erred and have the vote retaken?

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In a Planning meeting the Councillor voted against the application.  The application was refused.  Later the Councillor claimed he had mistakenly voted the wrong way.  I consider that Planning Application meetings are so critical that it should be clear that the vote is binding and cannot be altered.
asked by (120 points)

1 Answer

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I’m assuming that the council referred to is a town or parish council. In that case, the decision made would have been to recommend refusal. This is different from the situation in the planning authority, where the vote has immediate effect.

However most councils have standing orders that prohibit consideration of a matter already decided until six months have gone by. This can be overridden by a vote of the council, so it is possible to reconsider the decision, but only if a majority of the council is in favour of suspending the relevant standing order. This also assumes that there is time to hold another meeting before the planning authority makes a decision.
answered by (24.6k points)
Thanks Counterpoint - This was Windsor and Maidenhead Town Council and the meeting was of the "Maidenhead Development Management Panel" being a panel of Councillors who consider the RBWM Planning Authority's recommendations and make a decision.  (In effect the Councillors become the Planning Authority as theirs is the final decision.)  The vote was on 17th Dec 2018 and was tied at three for refusal, three against refusal and one abstention; and the final vote was to refuse permission.  Later the Council Leader said that a particular Councillor had made a mistake, and that the Council was seeking legal advice.
Well, I'd certainly think that seeking legal advice makes good sense! My local district council had an incident where a councillor "pushed the wrong button" but in that case, it resulted in the granting of planning permission. It is harder to back out of having granted permission than having refused it. What is the right thing to do is hard to say. Mistakes do happen, and I guess each situation has to be treated on its merits.

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