The biggest decision for the future of Brentwood in a generation will be made by an unelected official after the Tories decided, in a block vote, to delegate the entire decision on William Hunter Way to Alison Crowe, Managing Director. You can watch that clarified here.
Cllr Barry Aspinell, Opposition Leader, said:
"I am shocked that the Conservatives have decided that rather than make decisions themselves as they were elected to do, they have put all the power in the hands of a council officer. Councillors should be taking the decisions for our town and this is an unbelieavle dereliction of duty."
Brentwood North's Cllr Philip Mynott commented on the decisions made:
"Leader Cllr Louise McKinlay says this is the "best deal for Brentwood "but this is implausible when you only look at one deal. You can literally only ever get the best of three options and the better of two options - Brentwood's Conservatives have refused to look at more than one "option", ever since this process began in 2005, this cannot possibly, therefore, be the "best deal for Brentwood".
"A development on the William Hunter Way car park could potentially drain all the life out of the High Street and leave commercial Brentwood outside of William Hunter Way a disaster area - which is why it is so crucial to get it right. Unfortunately Brentwood's Conservatives have taken the wrong step at each turn of the path, and that, seemingly, has included encouraging Stockland to coax Mark's & Spencer, the High Street's biggest shop, out of the High Street, thus ensuring that in a devastatingly outsized scheme the largest single unit will simply house a business that was already in the town and not bring a new one to it.
"As was carefully pointed out to Brentwood's administration, refusing to release the council to explore potentially better schemes makes no sense at all, since the "benefits" and "advantages" of this one may, in reality, be drawbacks and negatives in comparison to others.
"Last week officers recommended to the council that in the absence of Stockland meeting some new conditions the Development Agreement should not be "made unconditional" (that is, finalised), allowing the development to take place. By last night Stockland had indeed failed to meet these new conditions, but the Tories simply backed down - to the developer's benefit, but to the borough's detriment."