Planning committee make up criticised for being ‘Brightoncentric’
Hove and Portslade are almost entirely unrepresented on a key decision-making committee.
The lack of councillors on Brighton and Hove City Council’s planning committee prompted local campaigner Valerie Paynter to question the committee’s ability to represent the western half of the city.
Miss Paynter, who runs Save Hove, asked the committee why membership had been cut from 12 to 10 and criticised the Brighton focus.
At a meeting at Hove Town Hall, she said: “Two Rottingdean councillors are now regular members of the committee and there is no Portslade and only one Hove councillor on the committee.
“How is this unbalanced, Brightoncentric, distortion justified?”
Labour councillor Tracey Hill, who chairs the committee, said that the number of members had been agreed by the council’s Constitutional Working Group and ratified by the full council.
Councillors put themselves forward for membership of committees, she said, based on their own personal preferences and interests rather than based on which part of the city they represented.
Councillor Hill said: “You can be sure when we consider planning applications it will be on a city basis, without being parochial
“We will make sure we are all fully informed about the sites.”
As well as Councillor Hill, who represents Hollingdean and Stanmer ward, the Planning Committee includes two other Labour councillors – former leader Daniel Yates, who represents Mouslecoomb and Bevendean, and deputy chair Gill Williams, who represents East Brighton.
There are three Conservative members – former chair Carol Theobald, who represents Patcham, Dee Simson, who represents Woodingdean, and Joe Miller, who represents Rottingdean Coastal.
Independent councillor Bridget Fishleigh also represents Rottingdean Coastal ward.
And there are three Green members – Leo Littman, who represents Preston Park, Sue Shanks, who represents St Peter’s and North Laine, and the sole Hove member Phélim Mac Cafferty, another former chair of the committee, who represents Brunswick and Adelaide.