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Warrington councillors clash over destruction of planning documents
3:56pm Tuesday 11th September 2012 in News
COUNCILLORS clashed over whether the council should take responsibility for the destruction of planning documents.
The conflict came as the independent inquiry by barrister Eric Owen was discussed at full council on Monday evening at the Town Hall.
The report had looking into how most planning documents pre 1996 were destroyed in 2006.
It only came to light that the documents were no longer available after an ombudsman report into a planning issue highlighted the problem. But opposition members took issue with the report saying the council made the decision.
And Clr Bob Barr (LD - Lymm) added: “What we do know is the decision was taken by senior officers against legal advice by officers. They knew what they were doing was unlawful.
“Our officers taking decisions as serious as that brought the council into disrepute. You are trying to re-write history with this report.”
But Clr Chris Fitzsimmons (LAB - Birchwood) said the council should own up to the problem. He said: “We must take responsibility of the decision of an officer. We do have to accept corporate responsibility even though we didn’t make the decision. It pains me to have to say that. “People will be asking was it a cock up or conspiracy? “I think people in public should stand up and accept responsibility for what went on. We have to say sorry, it was a cock up.” On a vote to accept the report Labour councillors voted in favour, Liberal Democrats voted against it and Conservative councillors abstained.