A casting vote by Huddersfield’s planning committee chairman has probably saved Kirklees Council thousands of pounds.
But none of the councillors were happy at feeling forced into a u-turn to approve a housing bid for Netherthong.
And a Planning Inspector came in for criticism as councillors slammed a decision that left them having to agree to the new housing in a location they felt unsuitable - or leave Kirklees Council potentially facing a costly appeal bill.
Stuart Hepworth sought consent to build on land off St Mary’s Avenue.
The site is designated for housing in the 1999 Unitary Development Plan, which is now out of date but remains the council’s planning policy due to the limbo left by the failed Local Development Framework.
In April councillors rejected Mr Hepworth’s application for the St Mary’s Avenue site on highways and sustainability grounds, but he appealed.
On Monday the Planning Inspector Anne Jordan overturned councillors’ rejection to approve it.
But between the refusal and the Inspector’s ruling, Mr Hepworth submitted a second, identical application that councillors were asked to consider this week.
The Inspector’s ruling may have put Kirklees in line for greater costs, had they refused the second application on Thursday, due to a potential appeal.
Clr Donald Firth was critical, saying: “I don’t know which planet this person has dropped off, but it’s certainly not the same planet as me, due to the lack of pavements, school places and highway problems”.
Clr Ken Sims added: “The Inspector is human and humans make mistakes and this Inspector has made a mistake because she doesn’t know that area and she doesn’t know the consequences of it.”
Clr Christine Iredale said: “Costs or not, common sense needs to be applied, this is just not sensible”.
Clr Andrew Cooper refused to vote, saying his vote was worthless when it could be overruled by an “unelected government inspector” adding: “It’s a sham to local democracy”.
Clr Jean Calvert said she was “shocked that councillors in this chamber are going to be costing this council tens of thousands, probably more than that” just to make a stand.
Five councillors voted for approval, five against and three abstained, so it was left to the chair Clr Cliff Preest, to use his casting vote to approve the outline application.
A Planning Inspectorate spokesman said: “The Planning Inspectorate has no power to influence a developer’s wish to submit similar applications before an appeal has been determined.
“Every appeal is decided on its merit. Inspectors decisions are impartial and based upon the evidence submitted at the time taking account of current planning policy, guidance and legislation.”