A ROW broke out at Tuesday’s meeting of Poole council during a discussion over changes to the way planning applications are referred for a committee decision.

Cllr Mark Howell suggested that changes to the authority’s constitution which bar members from referring applications from outside their ward “could open up the system to corruption”.

He said that in wards which are represented by councillors of the same party, the ability for other members to put forward applications to the council’s planning committee provided a check and was “not tidying up” rules.

However, Cllr Ann Stribley said that she took “great offence” to Cllr Howell’s comments and said that planning had always been apolitical.

“It’s always been procedure to pass issues onto the ward member,” she said. “I think this does tidy this up.

“I think the member should be totally ashamed of what they said.”

The proposed changes, which had been agreed by the planning committee last month, were passed by the council on Tuesday.