A discussion of Cuadrilla’s plans to frack at Preston New Road at Lancashire County Council ended in chaos in the past few minutes as the meeting was adjourned without a decision
Members of the public demanded to know what was happening when the Development Control Committee voted to consider legal advice and resume the discussion on Monday.
After brief talks between councillors and officers, the chair of the committee, Munsif Dad, announced that the legal advice to the council would be available to the public tomorrow.
This afternoon, a vote by the committee to refuse the application was defeated. It was tied, seven councillors in favour of refusal and seven against. Cllr Dad used his chair’s casting vote to swing the result against refusal.
The vote followed an adjournment for advice on planning policy and an hour-long meeting, behind closed doors, with legal officers.
Councillors then supported Paul Hayhurst, the councillor of Fylde, in his call to make these discussions public and take extra guidance on planning policy.
The additional advice concerns policy CS5 in the Lancashire minerals and waste plan, which deals with sustainable minerals production.
Cllr Hayhurst said councillors should be given advice on whether this policy could be used to reject the application and whether a decision based on it would withstand a challenge on appeal.
The committee had previously been advised by planning officers that there were no sustainable grounds to refuse the application.
Pat Davies, chair of the Preston New Road Action Group, thanked Cllr Hayhurst for working to share details with residents.
“We have been waiting 15 months and we deserve to know how and why our council has made its decision.”
The Preston New Road application will discussed again at 10am on Monday. Tomorrow the committee begins discussion on Cuadrilla’s application for Roseacre Wood. Planning officers have recommended this be refused on traffic grounds.