A COUNCILLOR has spoken out over dismissed calls for him to be banned from the planning panel following a “serious” code of conduct complaint.

At a Royal Borough Development Management panel on October 21 (Wednesday), councillor Leo Walters (Conservative: Bray) read out a statement about a complaint lodged against him and councillor Geoff Hill (The Borough First: Oldfield) over wanting to refuse a planning application.

At the previous panel meeting on September 16, Cllr Walters proposed – which was seconded by Cllr Hill – to block plans to demolish an existing building and construct eight flats at the Zaman House, Church Road, Maidenhead.

They wanted to refuse it over concerns about the plan’s impact of the area’s character and a lack of an evacuation plan in the event of a flood as the house is in a ‘high probability’ flooding zone.

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During the September meeting, it was ultimately decided to defer the application to this meeting to obtain more information on the townscape and the nearby trees from officers.

In Cllr Walters’ statement, he said the applicant through his representative, Matt Taylor, and his solicitor made a “formal and serious code of conduct complaint” to the managing director, Duncan Sharkey, on September 18.

They called for Cllr Walters – as well as Cllr Hill – to be permanently removed from the panel for allegedly “pre-determining” the application as Cllr Walters sits on Bray Parish Council and did not declare this as an interest at the last meeting.

While the Zaman House application did go to Bray Parish Council on March 9 – who recommended it be refused – Cllr Walters stated he did not attend that meeting nor does he attend or participate in parish council meetings due to being a member of the planning panel – which is why he didn’t feel the need to declare an interest.

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Cllr Walters said this complaint was a “particular hurt” to him as he conducts himself to the code “in a proper way”.

It was heard the monitoring officer had dismissed these claims on October 19.

Cllr Walters read out the officer’s decision letter – which stated: “There was evidence that the complainant (the applicant) used the code of conduct process for the sole aim of raising the prospect that this application will be approved at the meeting tonight by ensuring that Cllr Hill and Cllr Walters could not attend.”

Despite planning officers recommending the Zaman House development to be approved, councillors of the panel rebelled and refused it due to its impact on the area’s character and flooding issues.