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Council / Smith steps down from planning committee

WESTSIDE councillor Theo Smith has resigned as chairman of Shetland Islands Council’s planning committee, citing repeated conflicts of interest on certain applications.

Westside councillor Theo Smith.

Smith said he is also planning to stand down as a member of the committee.

The councillor said it is “unfair” to leave decision making on a range of Viking Energy related applications to the committee’s vice-chair and members due to a conflict of interest which means he has to leave meetings.

Smith added that he has found the workload “extremely time consuming”.

“I have already declared a conflict of interest regarding Viking applications,” he said.

“This has caused me considerable angst as I feel it is unfair to leave decisions on future applications to my vice-chair and committee members. A new chair would be free to steer these difficult decisions through without compromise.”

He added: “I sit on the board of Hjaltland Housing Association and if future housing applications are presented to the committee, as they may be before the end of this council, then I shall again have to declare an interest and remove myself from the proceedings.

“I did not seek to become chair at the start of this council two years ago but I was persuaded by colleagues to be nominated for the post.”

Smith added that he wanted to thank planning committee vice-chair Andrea Manson and its members, as well as planning officers.

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