A Bishopbriggs councillor has defended his decision to take a stand against a planning application - even though it means he’ll be unable to vote against it.
Conservative councillor Billy Hendry has joined hundreds of campaigners in slamming plans by CALA Homes (West) to build up to 136 properties north of Meadowburn, in Bishopbriggs, near the Forth & Clyde Canal.
A record-breaking 413 objections have been made against the application, with the Save Bishopbriggs Canal Greenspace campaign group (SBCG) leading the charge.
But SNP Anne McNair has accused Councillor Hendry, who is currently convener of the council’s planning board, of “grandstanding”, pointing out that by declaring his opinion he has forfeited his right to vote on the development in the future.
She said: “I am astonished at the irresponsibility
“The decision to grant or refuse planning consent will be taken by the council’s planning board.
“All twenty four councillors are voting members and the outcome is decided by a straight majority.
“By excluding himself, Councillor Hendry has left the other twenty three councillors to make the decision without him.
“In effect those who may choose to oppose the planning development have lost his vote.
“If the decision turns out to be close, the loss of even a single vote could make the difference between planning permission being granted or refused.
“For a local ward councillor this behaviour is completely irresponsible?”
But Councillor Hendry hit back at Councillor McNair, dismissing her accusations as a “political stunt”.
He said: “It has been mentioned me on many occasions by local residents that they are heartened that I am taking a stand against this planning application.
“I am not prepared to hide behind planning rules that prohibit a councillor from commenting or stating their position on a planning matter.
“When I saw the plans I knew straight away with no hesitation that I was totally against the application, therefore in theory I am protecting the integrity of the planning board as there is no way I can remain impartial when it comes to a vote.
“I would advise Councillor McNair that local residents fighting this application are well aware the reasons for my decision and they appreciate this allows me to give them clear advice and counsel.
“Local residents across Bishopbriggs want a voice on their side and this political stunt by the SNP has back fired straight away, in that it affords our campaign more publicity.
“Councillor McNair has a history of jumping in with half thought out comments which turn out to wrong, leaving her isolated from other members of the council including her own group.
“I understand she is standing down at the next local election.
“I will stand up for local residents for a long time after she has gone and that includes fighting against this application along side Bishopbriggs residents.”