The removal of Councillor David Pressley as Cabinet Member for Community Prosperity, which included Chairman of Planning, is, in my opinion, a serious error of judgement on the part of the leader of Bassetlaw Council and his adviser whose decision it was.
David took over as chairman in the dark days following the Phelps Report into Planning in Bassetlaw. The report found that site allocations and planning decisions had been made that defied logic and greatly enriched a land agent who had bought land cheaply, obtained by corruption planning permissions and allocations that should never have been given, then sold to developers for vast profits.
David’s wise head steered us through a very difficult time and allowed Bassetlaw to regain the public’s and professionals’ confidence in its decision making.
Until this year cabinet positions were decided by the majority group at the council. Now the leader decides alone but promises to do so after consultation with others. Apart from one individual outside of Labour group I cannot think of anyone who would not have chosen David for this portfolio.
Certainly a vote at group would have easily seen David retain this post.
Without a doubt he is a man of total honesty and integrity and his experience, intelligence and ability coupled with his extensive knowledge of his remit will be sorely missed. To remove him from the committee entirely serves to show how factionalised the group has become and is a totally undeserved insult to the man.
Phelps came about because some people thought they were above criticism, they could do what they wanted and what they were told to do by others with no consequences to themselves. They suffered for that not the developer, a lesson to some maybe that still holds to this day.
Officers, monitoring and legal and planning, finally did their job and said no more, not a good position to be in given the risk to their jobs. The then majority group brought about Phelps and his investigation. I sincerely hope there is never a need for a Phelps Two.
Many thanks to David for his work on Planning over the years.
Mr P. Skelding