Perthshire homes approved despite technical difficulties
An 187-home development in Stanley has been approved by Perth & Kinross Council in a process which saw a councillor unable to cast his vote after his computer crashed.
The housing application was put before the committee in March but was deferred so committee members could undertake a site visit to address concerns about road safety on the B9099 leading into the estate.
Worries over the democratic process were highlighted at the start of last week’s meeting as the application had arrived back before the committee without the scheduled site visit having been made due to coronavirus.
Councillor Eric Drysdale’s computer then crashed for a total of 12 minutes, leaving him unable to cast his vote on the application, despite having visited the site and sat through the original meeting and more than two hours of Wednesday’s discussion.
With final votes on the application tied at six apiece the committee convener, Councillor Roz McCall used her powers to have a casting vote and approved the application.
Mr Drysdale told The Courier after the meeting: “I was not certain how I wanted to vote so I wanted to go see the site myself so I drove up there before the meeting in what passes for rush hour during lockdown. That raised a number of questions in my mind about the road safety angle.
“Sadly the hardware crashed and I missed out on 12 minutes so I found that extremely frustrating but I genuinely hadn’t made up my mind about which way I was going to vote.”
Werner Reiche, Stanley and District Community Council chairman, said he was worried about the democratic process of the online committees.
He said: “It’s an unfortunate result and a very bad result for the community. It seems that local knowledge in this issue has been totally ignored. We are concerned that a decision was taken in March that to be able to vote the councillors had to visit the site and I don’t know that all the councillors that voted yesterday visited the site or not.
“If they were unable to visit the site then by their own democratic process they shouldn’t have been able to vote. If there is an accident at this proposed junction then Perth & Kinross Council should be held to account.”
Strathmore councillor Grant Laing was concerned that the final decision came down to a technological glitch and not a full vote by elected members.