Flintshire councillor slams attack on his green watchdog

Reporter:

Andrew Boyd

A CONTROVERSIAL councillor has hit back after coming under fire over the legitimacy of his environmental group.

Cllr Klaus Armstrong-Braun was questioned by fellow councillors over the authenticity of his group Envirowatch UK during a meeting of the planning committee at County Hall this week.

Cllr Armstrong-Braun was granted five minutes’ speaking time to put forward his arguments against a planned housing development in Treuddyn as a representative of Envirowatch UK.

But Cllr Bernie Attridge made a proposal for Cllr Armstrong-Braun not to be granted the time to speak.

He said: “If you search for Envirowatch UK on the internet you will not find anything.

“I do not believe he should be allowed to speak.”

Also questioning Envirowatch UK was Hawarden councillor Clive Carver, who feared allowing councillors to represent groups which may not have other members could set a new precedent.

He said: “Envirowatch UK is a particular councillor, the one who wants to speak.

“This could be setting a precedent where every councillor who wants to speak forms a group.

“For example, I could call myself Hawarden Watch.”

David Davies, a senior legal officer for the council, said he acknowledged the concerns over Cllr Armstrong-Braun being granted time to speak and the procedure may need looking at again, but officers were not able to back Cllr Attridge’s proposal.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Armstrong-Braun felt he had been the target of “appalling abuse” from members of the committee and claimed comments made were “personal”.

He said: “Had this been another councillor representing an agency, I feel they would not have acted the same way towards them. It was like a vendetta towards me.”

Asked about the claims made about the agency’s lack of membership, Cllr Armstrong-Braun said: “It is nothing to do with the members of the council.

“It is no business of theirs whatsoever.”

He said he founded both Envirowatch UK and Envirowatch EU more than 10 years ago, with the agencies having been involved in monitoring numerous legal issues since and reporting concerns to central government.

- Members voted in favour of the application for 41 dwellings at land to the side of the cemetery, Ffordd y Rhos, Treuddyn.

The planned development by the Pennaf Housing Group has been amended and includes the applicants entering into a Section 106 agreement that would see them provide more than £30,000 towards improved play facilities in the village.

Cllr Armstrong-Braun said he did not believe the required ecological surveys had been carried out and he asked for the application to be deferred.

Cllr Carolyn Thomas, Treuddyn member on Flintshire Council, said most concerns by members of the community about the proposal had been addressed and she was aware that ecological surveys had been conducted.

See full story in the Leader

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