PLANNING decisions made by Wiltshire Council planning committees have been overturned by planning inspectors on every one of the last 12 applications that have gone to appeal.

Cabinet member for planning Toby Sturgis said the figure was alarming, and that enormous pressure was being put on workloads as the council fights to defend decisions made by councillors.

A total of £43k of damages had to be paid out by the council last month after a inspectorate overruled a Village Green application in Royal Wootton Bassett.

Coun Sturgis said: It was alarming the last 12 member decisions that went against planning officer approval recommendations had been lost at appeal.

Coun Alan Hill said: “I am getting an inference that it is not right for members of public to attend and sway the committee against an application. There is a danger here the public will feel disenfranchised by the implication. The system is there to be used if a member feels a decision recommendation is not supported within the community and the community want to express their view.”

Council leader Jane Scott said: “We have to be honest with our parishes. We don’t want it to go to inspector. I would hate to think this council will stop its democratic process. We just need to make sure those ones that are contentious do have strong planning reasons.”