Plymouth councillors walk out of meeting in webcast coverage row
TORY councillors stormed out of a planning meeting in a row over a council webcast.
The Herald reported yesterday how footage of this week's full council meeting was being held back from the public.
The council said the recording must be edited before being placed online as it contains potentially-defamatory statements.
That sparked an angry reaction from Conservative group leader councillor Vivien Pengelly, who accused the ruling Labour group of breaking its promises of transparency.
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Cllr Lynda Bowyer, the shadow chair of the council's planning committee, demanded an adjournment at the beginning of last night's meeting to discuss the issue with colleagues.
But she was outvoted – and walked out after committee chair Bill Stevens accused her of voting against the introduction of webcasts when the idea was first mooted.
Several fellow Tory councillors left the room, though only Cllr Bowyer failed to return to vote on any applications.
They included long-awaited plans to develop a luxury hotel on Drake's Island and the opening of a Wetherspoon's pub in Plympton.
Councillors heard how a string of environmental surveys were yet to be carried out in relation to proposed work on the island.
Millionaire businessman Dan McCauley submitted the £10million plans in January.
But the meeting was told how developers had been "implored" to withdraw the application when planners realised key information was missing or incomplete.
A decision on the plans was deferred, but they are now unlikely to be approved until at least September 2013.
Meanwhile, pub chain Wetherspoon's was given the stamp of approval to open up a new branch in the Ridgeway. Neighbouring Ridgeway School raised concerns that its beer garden would overlook classrooms and the school playground – but a high fence will block views, members heard.