A Moray planning boss has warned his own authority it might face legal actions if it changes its rules to deal with Elgin’s controversial link road.
A planning application was recently lodged for the £8.5million road, which will directly connect the Elgin’s Edgar Road retail park to the A96 Inverness to Aberdeen route.
Normally, Moray Council’s planning committee would make a decision on the application.
But this week, councillors will discuss whether the proposals should be decided by full council instead – a move that could make it more likely approval will eventually be given.
Last night Douglas Road, the planning committee’s chairman, raised fears the authority could be open to legal change if the motion to change the planning process for the application is successful on Wednesday.
He said: “I have been contacted by countless people across Moray who have questioned if there are other motives from councillors looking to move a planning application away from the planning committee.
“The bottom line is the planning committee has the members who determine planning applications, and there is nothing in this application which would allow it to be treated any differently.
“I think the council could be open to legal challenge for changing the process for only one application.
“I also think it seriously harms the reputation of the council to treat a controversial application differently from others.”
The proposed road has long provoked furious opposition from some townsfolk.
Councillors John Cowe and Barry Jarvis’s motion states that as the western link road is a “major piece of strategic development” for the region, all 26 elected members should have a say.
Mr Jarvis said yesterday: “It’s an important issue which will have a major impact on Moray’s future. Therefore, I believe it surely makes sense for it to be voted on by everyone, not just the planning committee members.”