That is SO inappropriate (IMHO) I'd be pretty wild if I was a tax payer in that parish and there was a CT increase for precept with £100k languishing in a dubious EMR.
I'm guessing then that the PC has to 'object' to a proposed development by a majority vote and then there would need to be another vote to authorise expenditure on consultancy services?
This is a total nonsense and potentially a double spend for a single output.
If (and I do mean IF) there are valid planning reasons for the PC to object then they should be communicated to the planning officer and the ward councillor.
IF the ward councillor supports the objection then the application is put before LA planning committee rather than delegated officer decision. IF the LA planning committee find grounds to object then the applicant can go to appeal. It all comes down to planning law which I very much doubt many PCs are capable or even able to influence. NIMBY is not in planning law.
To give an example from a recent proposed development site in a nearby parish where I was on the consultancy team, the PC received a good few objections, more than normal but when measured against the population of the village AND the parish it brought the PCs objection into a rather different light.
Extract from my submission:
To add some balance to the discussion, 19 representations made to the parish council may seem high...
It probably is fair to acknowledge that it is high, but only when measured against the normal trend of zero public interest / participation in general parish council issues.
Perhaps this sudden, apparent, surge of interest has taken the parish council by surprise?
19 representations, many repeating the very same (largely irrelevant in planning terms) objections, needs to be viewed in perspective.
Population of XXX parish +/- 1568
Population of XXX village +/- 338
19 as a percentage of 1568 is 1.21% of the parish and 19 of 338 is 5.6% of the village.
Turn those figures around and you see that 98.79% of the parish and 94.4% of the village either don’t wish to object or have no opinion either way.
The obvious question therefore is:
Has the parish council represented the will of the majority?
So what are the criteria for a PC objection in your circumstances? Greater than 50% of the parish expressing a view or the unbalanced opinion of the loudest voices?
I understand your frustration at meeting a wall of silence. It strikes me as very odd. It brings us back to that old chestnut, how do you get the subject onto the agenda for an honest and open discussion if the clerk and chair won't play ball. Maybe try the extraordinary meeting route if you have the agreement of sufficient other councillors or raise a concern with the internal / external auditor stating that you have attempted to discuss legitimate concern but are being stonewalled. At the very least you want to record all your attempts and corro with the auditor as a degree of personal mitigation if the council is criticised.
I wouldn't be content to sign off on that in the financial plan.