QUESTIONS around controversial tree felling in Druitt Gardens have been left unresolved after a key meeting. The matter will now be dealt with at a meeting later this year.
Councillors at Christ-church’s scrutiny committee felt there were omissions in a controversial report on the trees at a meeting on Tuesday.
Angry residents packed out the public gallery, protesting outside the civic offices beforehand, calling for ‘No cover up’.
Members were told it was “crucial” that changes were made to the planning department following the mistakes committed by the council over the handling of the Cornfactor site application.
But they “noted with concern” missing information and unanswered questions, and, as proposed by Cllr David Jones, called for a meeting dedicated solely to the issue, in October.
They also called for a report on the ‘robust’ policy to protect trees and sensitive buildings as a result of the blunder which took place earlier this year.
Strategic director David Barnes told the meeting it was clear mistakes were made in the Cornfactor site over a long period of time.
Details were given of processes introduced to try and prevent the problems from happening again, which included more analysis of historical records relating to proposals, creating training programmes for members and officers and copying practices from other councils.
The council is also in the process of recruiting a new lawyer to the legal team to deal solely with planning matters.
Details of workload for officers and system failures were given by the head of growth and economy, James Hassett, who said they were trying to reduce officers’ case load ‘so they have time to make sure they are making the right decisions’.
Cllr Lesley Dedman said: “It almost looks as though these actions should have been happening already.”
Cllr Peter Hall said questions submitted by councillors and members of the public still hadn’t been answered and backed another meeting.
Cllr Jones added: “It has been a difficult meeting and a lot more concerns have arisen.”