CONTROVERSY over a Stockton councillor who caused havoc at a committee meeting is having serious repercussions in the ward he represents.

Egglescliffe Parish Council, of which Coun John Fletcher is also a member, reports deep unease about the restaurant scheme which sparked the trouble and planning issues in general.

Members have backed Coun Fletcher ever since problems over the plan for a restaurant just outside Yarm surfaced some weeks ago.

Tensions over the scheme boiled over when Stockton planning committee approved the same plan they had rejected amid parking concerns late last year.

Coun Fletcher had withdrawn from debate after declaring non-pecuniary interest and was furious when he returned to find the plan had gone through.

He threw agenda papers round the council chamber, verbally threatened a legal officer and refused to leave the meeting when asked to do so.

He later apologised but the Liberal Democrats' group, of which he is a member, then threw him off the planning committee.

After the council chamber incident, parish council clerk Mrs Helen Rennison wrote to Stockton's chief executive, Mr George Garlick, expressing the council's dismay that the restaurant scheme had been approved when there was so much local opposition.

Mr Garlick's reply - basically listing the chain of events - was considered at the council's last meeting.

"Everyone felt the reply was extremely disappointing," said Mrs Rennison.

The council now wants to know what guidelines the authority's legal team uses when asking people to withdraw from meetings and clarification on the rules on non-pecuniary interest.

"We also feel our views on the restaurant plan were not reported fully to the committee," said Mrs Rennison.

"We are most unhappy about the whole affair. The site is the entrance to our parish. We have put seats and litter bins there and had land surfaced to create the right effect.

"People are asking questions and there is a lot of unease in the parish about various planning applications which are going through, yet to which people have objected.