CONTROVERSIAL plans for 82 new homes in Fowey have been approved despite a crunch planning meeting descending into chaos.
One councillor described the central area sub-planning committee on Monday as a "shambles" while another said it was "illegal" after members voted both against and then in favour of the Wainhomes' development at Hill Hay.
After a 15-minute break, the members at County Hall, Truro were asked to vote again and the planning application was approved, subject to conditions – to the amazement of some councillors and watching members of the public.
Councillor Sally Bain, ward member for Fowey, said those opposed to the scheme are even considering reporting the debacle to the Secretary of State.
Councillor Anne Boosey, deputy mayor of Fowey, questioned the legality of the planning committee's decision.
"The proposed refusal was lost by six votes to seven, so then there was the vote to pass 'as set out' [to approve the application]. This was also lost by six votes to seven, which meant that there was nothing left on the table.
"You cannot then go ahead and do what they did as it's not legal, it is just completely illegal.
"Then to say it was done for practicality just makes a complete mockery of the whole thing; going ahead with something that has already been voted off the table is ludicrous."
Planning committee member Rob Nolan said the process was a "shambles".
He proposed refusal on a number of grounds including the proposal being outside the development boundary, it being unsustainable, issues with water run-off and that the development required the relocation of a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the Tristan Stone, because English Heritage didn't want it in a housing estate.
Mr Nolan told the Cornish Guardian: "Generally it's not possible to vote again on the same motion, and we expected a deferral, but a pragmatic approach was taken, and we were told to vote again. I asked for my name to be recorded as voting against, and added that I thought we had received some very poor advice.
"It was chaos and confusion at Cornwall Council, some very poor legal advice, and a scheduled ancient monument will be loaded on a flat-bed truck and shifted to a new home."
The Tristan Stone is said to mark the grave of Tristan, nephew of King Mark of Cornwall and a young nobleman whose forbidden love for the fair Iseult, or Isolde, has inspired poets for centuries.
However, now the seven-foot high obelisk which is believed to date back to before the 5th century is set to be moved after Cornwall Council gave permission for the estate of 80 homes.
Bert Biscoe, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for transportation, highways and environment condemned the decision as an "infringement of the cultural integrity of Cornwall".
"Such desecration is the equivalent of the Taliban bombing ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan, or Napoleon shooting at the Sphinx for target practice – it is cultural violence," he said.