LEADING Tory councillor Alan Cottam has accused Labour’s high command of ‘playing politics with the planning process” by shelving a controversial decision on a car lot in Blackburn with Darwen council boss Kate Hollern’s ward.

He is angry that Wensley Motors’ application for backdated permission for a pitch in her Wensley Fold ward was ‘kicked into the long grass’ after she objected to officers’ recommending approval.

Coun Hollern and her deputy and fellow ward councillor Mohammed Khan denied the claim and said the lot in Wensley Road would cause parking chaos.

The borough planning committee deferred the decision until councillors had another look at the site.

Coun Cottam said: “This application should have been refused or approved on planning grounds. They only deferred it to save embarrassment to Kate.

“She has been put under pressure by local residents to refuse it, as was her deputy Mohammed Khan.

“I think the council will approve it at the next meeting. They should have refused it. Wensley Mot-ors should find another site.

“Labour are playing politics with the planning process.”

Committee chairman Jim Smith hit back: “We took a decision to look again at the site and see if they can load and unload cars from a lorry there. To accuse us of playing politics is nonsense.

“We take care to make the right decisions so we are going to look at this again.

Mohammed Tasawar Ghafoor, agent for owner Aman Ullah Qamar, said: “We are confident when the committee visits again we can show that this is a viable and suitable application.”