The chief executive of Ryedale District Council will now decide whether to add the authority’s support to a judicial review into a controversial planning decision to build 260 homes in Kirkbymoorside.
Tory councillors voted to give Janet Waggott “delegated authority” to make the decision during an extraordinary meeting at Lady Lumley’s School on Monday evening.
Around 130 people, the majority from Kirkbymoorside, packed into the school’s assembly hall to listen to the debate which had been called for by Cllr John Clark and members of the Liberal Party.
The political group, the main opponents to the ruling Conservative Party, put forward a motion calling for the decision to be revoked, or failing that, asking members “not to contest a judicial review” into the application by Gladman to build 260 homes in the Westfield area of Kirkbymoorside.
The meeting had been called following the error by Cllr David Cussons who had mistakenly pushed the wrong button at a planning committee meeting in August - helping to give the application the green light.
It emerged on the night that a Judicial Review has been called for by William Shaw and Mr Brian Hewitt, a move which council officers restricted what they could say or do due to it being part of the “legal process.”
It was also revealed that Gladman had sent a letter to the council saying they intended to appeal for substantial costs if the application was not approved.
But officers did warn that if the council revoked the decision, it could bankrupt the authority by costing it anything between £3m and £12m in compensation to the landowner.
Cllr Clark said: “The question behind this motion is who decides the planning in Ryedale? Is it the public? Is it the councillors? Is it the inspector - or is it Eric Pickles?
“Or it would appear to be Gladmans.”
He added: “Please as a council, let’s not buckle under this threat and Gladmans is a threat, let’s support the judicial review because if we don’t support it for the people of Kirkbymoorside, the same will be done right across the whole of Ryedale.”
Cllr Linda Cowling, leader of the Conservative group, said: “I am well aware there has been a lot of controversy over how the council approved this application. I do have sympathy for that and that will be fully scrutinised by the Judicial Review process.
But she warned that the council would be bankrupted if the decision was revoked with council workers likely to lose their jobs, swimming pools shut, assets sold and council tax likely to rise 58 per cent to cover their losses. Cllr Clark motion was lost after Cllr Cowling was supported in her amendment to delegate powers to Ms Waggott.