One of the chief architects of Rugby's Local Plan steps down as cabinet member

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One of the chief architects of Rugby's Local Plan has stepped down as cabinet member for the growth and investment portfolio.

Cllr Heather Timms helped to propose the borough's Local Plan - which includes the controversial Lodge Farm and South West Rugby plans and resulted in a government inspector proposing major modifications and a campaigner brand the council's actions as "incredibly stupid".

She told the Advertiser her resignation from the cabinet has nothing to do with the inspector's recommended changes to the Local Plan, adding that the Local Plan is sound.

Cllr Timms, who represents Revel and Binley Woods said: "I'm happy that I'm leaving a great legacy of growth and jobs in Rugby."

Cllr Michael Stokes, leader of Rugby council, said: “With regret, I have accepted the resignation of Cllr Heather Timms in her role as cabinet member for the growth and investment portfolio."

The announcement comes after government inspector Mike Hayden wrote to the council last week to recommend the Lodge Farm, Brinklow and Coton House housing plans should be axed from the Local Plan.

Campaigners have accused the council of not listening to the concerns of residents over the plan.

Mike Judge of Save Dunchurch said the council has been “incredibly stupid”. He said: “Unfortunately it seems our medieval village is going to be sacrificed. Taxpayers have had to fund this plan, and individuals have had to raise tens of thousands to try to oppose it.”

After receiving Mr Hayden's letter Cllr Timms said his findings are another significant step towards delivering planned, sustainable growth.

But representative of Leam Valley Ward and portfolio holder for communities and homes Cllr Emma Crane said the council will have to face serious questions.

She said: “Whilst I’m so pleased that the inspector has recommended that Lodge Farm be scrapped from Rugby’s Local Plan, when the dust settles from the celebrations in Leam Valley I do think that serious questions must be asked of those in Rugby Borough Council who championed this proposal against all logic."

“Lodge Farm never made sense. I have objected from the outset and repeatedly pressed for it to be removed from our Local Plan."

Cllr Stokes said: "I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Cllr Timms for her significant contribution in this role over the years and I look forward to working with her as an active member of The Conservative Group.

He said he will announce a replacement in "due course".