Councillors warned about rally

DERWENT Valley Councillors have been warned not to attend tomorrow’s rally in support of the proposed major shopping centre at New Norfolk. More than 150 people on Facebook have already said they will be attending the event at Arthur Square at 2pm.

At the council’s monthly meeting on Thursday night, Councillor Chris Lester asked whether all councillors were aware of the overwhelming groundswell of support for Raif and Roostam Sadri’s development on the former Royal Derwent Hospital site, which had led to a rally being organised for Sunday.

General manager Stephen Mackey advised councillors not to speak at the rally as it may exclude them from voting on the development if it is considered again at a future council meeting. The meeting also heard that the Sadri application was “most possibly being withdrawn” and likely to be re-submitted.

“The best thing is not to be there,” Mr Mackey said. “You are a planning authority and appeals in the planning tribunal have been lost on a technicality. We will seek legal advice but the best thing is to err on the side of caution,” he said.

Planning officer Martin McCance said existing advice from planning appeal tribunal chairman Simon Cooper was that if a councillor attended a rally and was perceived as being in support of it, the councillor could not vote on the matter when it came before council.

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