BCP Council’s planning chair has again defended his leadership and the committee after further complaints about Christchurch decisions.

Chairman Cllr David Kelsey says that despite allegations many Christchurch decisions are taken by Bournemouth and Poole councillors who know little, or nothing, about the area, the process is fair and according to the rules.

There has been an on-going campaign to set up three area planning committees, one for each town, but so far the requests have not been agreed to although BCP Council has said it will keep the situation under review.

Neighbouring Dorset has three area planning committees – for the West and South, North and Eastern areas, although councillors from outside each area sit on those committees. As with BCP, the system still sometimes leads to complaints that councillors from outside a particular area are taking decisions on places they know little about.

A recent example is an extension to a town centre office block in Dorchester which all local councillors and the town council opposed, but was passed with a motion from a North Dorset councillor and supported by others outside of the county town area.

The BCP-Christchurch issue was raised again at Tuesday evening’s full council meeting with two questions on the subject from members of the public.

One said councillors on the committee had admitted, on occasion, that they did not know the area they were making a decision about and had not visited locations under consideration.

“Is the council comfortable with such a lack of due diligence?” said one, with another asking the council to investigate whether or not decisions were being taken properly, claiming it was a matter of public record that Cllr Kelsey had not been impartial for all items.

But the planning chairman said that for each application all the paperwork, all the letters for and against and all the plans and detailed proposals, were available to all committee members and wherever they lived, or represented, they were bound to take decisions in line with the council’s policies and planning law.

He said the committee always applied planning policies in an impartial way and public views were always taken onboard, adding that he was always happen to listen to feedback.