Angry Perthshire residents say they have “unfinished business” after plans for a major housing development were pushed through when a councillor’s laptop crashed during a crucial vote.
Locals in Stanley say they remain concerned about the road safety implications of the 187-home project on the busy B9099 Luncarty to Murthly road.
Developers Muir Homes are looking to build a new junction off the road leading into the estate.
The community council is trying to find out if the recently approved application can be blocked or changed.
The development was approved by councillors during a marathon eight and a half hour meeting earlier this month. The session was beset by technical glitches resulting in one member Eric Drysdale missing the vote that ended in a 6-6 tie.
Concerns over the democratic process mounted when it was revealed that not all councillors had visited the development due to coronavirus, despite the application being deferred earlier in the year so a site visit could be carried out.
Peter Mackie, vice-chairman of Stanley and District Community Council, believes the application cannot be allowed to continue in its current form.
He told The Courier: “We’re looking to see what our options are but we’ve been told we can’t appeal the decision.
“The democratic process did not happen at that meeting.
“There was every reason to adjourn the meeting until everyone could visit the site.
“There’s unfinished business with this application, it simply cannot happen.”
Ward SNP councillor Grant Laing believes that the result may have been different if all councillors had visited the site as was originally planned in the previous deferral.
Mr Laing said: “It was very unfortunate the way this has turned out for the people of Stanley. Although process was followed it will feel to them that it is unfair.
“The committee decided that they needed to come and visit the site but because of Covid this became difficult.
“The telling point is that Councillor Drysdale visited the site on that day – before he visited the site he was minded to support the application but after having seeing the site he had reservations. So if they all had come to see the site would the result have been different?
“The other thing is that the convener used her remit to have a casting vote. She is not compelled to do that.”
Mr Drysdale previously told The Courier he was “not certain” how he would have voted but his site visit “raised a number of questions” regarding road safety.
A spokesperson for Muir Homes said they had carried out a number of safety surveys which had been approved by Perth and Kinross Council.
They added that a number of options had been looked at for the access and that the current one was the “optimal position”.
A spokesperson for Perth and Kinross Council said: “Virtual meetings comply with lockdown guidance while ensuring democratic scrutiny and representation continues during the pandemic.
“Ultimately, officers were satisfied that the application complied with the Local Development Plan policies, and recommended that the committee grant planning permission.
“The decision was taken in line with the standing orders of the council and therefore stands.
“Case officers provide visual presentations to help councillors familiarise themselves with the site, regardless of whether a site visit has taken place.”