Council investigating formal complaint over Six56 planning approval


WARRINGTON Borough Council is investigating a formal complaint over the controversial Six56 planning application approval, which has been given the green light by the Secretary of State this week.

The formal complaint, on procedural grounds, was submitted by Richard Buttrey and Jackie Leotardi, two members of the Stop the Warrington Council Debt Group, following the Development Management Committee meeting on 10th March which voted by a “tight margin” of 7 votes to 5 for the Six56 development to go ahead.

The complaint concerns the substitution on the night of three Labour committee members by three other Labour councillors.
The substitutes who participated and voted at the meeting were Siobhan Carr (councillor for Westbrook), Andrew Hill (Woolston and Rixton) and Council leader Russ Bowden (Birchwood).
The complainants allege that the substitutions were unconstitutional and improper procedurally in 3 areas:

1.The procedure of notification of substitution does not appear to have been followed
2.Some of the substitutes may not have received the necessary training on planning
applications to take part in such an important committee meeting.
3.There was a potential conflict of interest with the late substitute Cllr Russ Bowden. He is a Board director of Wire Regeneration (and has been for 8 years), along with John Downes the ultimate owner of Langtree. Wire Regeneration is a joint venture between Warrington Borough Council and Langtree, the applicant in the Six56 Development planning application. Cllr Bowden voted in favour of the application at the meeting which the complainants say is a “clear conflict” of interest.

The formal complaint was submitted a month ago. The complainants have been told that the investigation is taking longer than anticipated due to the detailed nature of their complaint, but that they should be updated by the end of this week as to when they will receive a response.

The complainants have said that as soon as a response is received it will be communicated to Warrington Worldwide.

A council spokesperson said: “The investigation, which follows our complaints process, is complex given the detailed nature of the complaint, but we will provide an update to the complainants as soon as possible.”

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Experienced journalist for more than 40 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with three in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Director Warrington Chamber of Commerce Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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