Councillor’s anger over vote gaffe

Coun Brian Lohan
Coun Brian Lohan

A confused Mansfield councillor accidentally voted in favour of a planning application ensuring it was passed – after speaking against the issue.

Councillor Brian Lohan made the gaffe when members of Mansfield District Council’s planning committee discussed proposals for a haulage firm to continue using former Mansfield Brewery land, off Sheepbridge Lane 
and Gibbons Road, to store trailers.

Earlier in the discussion, Coun Lohan, Labour councillor for Portland, said: “I do not think it’s in the right place. I’m not satisfied.”

But when it came to the vote, he voted in favour, thinking he was voting for a slight amendment to the plans.

In a cruel twist, from the 11 members present, six voted in favour, including Coun Lohan, with five against.

Had he voted against the plans, they would have been rejected.

Coun Lohan raised the issue with the chairman, Coun Bill Drewett, saying: “My vote would have gone the other way.”

However, Coun Drewett consulted with a legal professional sat next to him, who stated the reasons for the vote had been made clear and they would not be able to vote again on the issue.

Speaking after the meeting, Coun Lohan said he was unhappy with the decision.

He said: “As far as I was concerned, we were voting on the amendment, it should have been explained better.

“I was totally against the planning application.”

The plans submitted by SDC Trailers are almost identical to plans submitted in the summer, which the planning committee turned down, along with an application to keep using the main brewery site for storing trailers.

The company already uses the 1.37 hectare site for storing the trailers.

The plans were recommended for approval by the planning officers, who said it would not have an impact on the surrounding area.

Despite this, two letters of objection were received from residents on Sheepbridge Lane and a number of councillors spoke out against the plans at the meeting.

Coun Nick Bennett said: “It’s just not suitable. This belongs near a motorway, not on Sheepbridge Lane.

“It needs somewhere with better access. It’s quite worrying that they are springing up in Mansfield, it’s trailer park trash.”

Coun John Kerr said: “They should not be there in the first place. If we are going to do the right thing then let’s do it now and let’s say ‘no’.”