By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter
Ashfield’s MP has lodged a formal complaint after he was called a “f*****g moron” by the district council leader during a private local plan meeting.
Lee Anderson, the district’s Conservative MP, submitted the complaint to Ashfield District Council after being told the comment was made about him in the behind-closed-doors meeting last week.
Councillor Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), Ashfield District Council’s leader, admitted to making the comment and has apologised for using “that sort of language”.
It was made by Cllr Zadrozny during the authority’s cross-party local plan working group, which met for the last time before the ongoing consultation on the draft plan ends.
The document, which sets out where large housing developments should be built in the district, has proved controversial and attracted public criticism.
Mr Anderson was not in attendance at the meeting but was made aware of the remark afterwards.
During the meeting, members of the group were discussing bringing in Mr Anderson and Newark and Sherwood MP Mark Spencer (Con), who is also the Government’s chief whip, to help with the plan after a backlash against it from residents.
At this point Cllr Zadrozny said: “I’m not working with that f*****g moron.”
Mr Anderson has since lodged a complaint to the council’s monitoring officer, describing it as “totally unacceptable” and saying he believes Cllr Zadrozny breached three parts of the council’s code of conduct.
These included showing a “lack of respect”, using “offensive language”, and not “leading by example”.
Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Mr Anderson said: “I know Cllr Zadrozny has got some difficulties getting the local plan together and he’s under a lot of pressure.
“But that said, my door is always open and I’m sure he didn’t mean what he said.
“In politics, you should remain professional at all times. I look forward to his apology.”
In response to Mr Anderson, the council leader admitted making the comment during the meeting and apologised.
He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “It was a private, closed meeting and we were talking about getting him and Mark Spencer in, that’s when I said it.
“I probably shouldn’t have used that sort of language and I apologise, I let myself down more than anything else.
“We should have a better level of debate.”
The comments come after the Ashfield Independents confirmed they will be pausing the local plan for a lengthy period when the consultation ends on Tuesday (November 16).
The local plan is a long-term strategy setting out where new housing developments should be built across the district.
The plan has been met with a furious backlash from numerous resident groups over proposals for thousands of homes on greenbelt and greenfield sites.
Petitions with thousands of signatures have been submitted and residents have grouped together to oppose the plan. A motion is expected at full council on December 2.
The plan has been paused while the council awaits a Government review into the setting of housebuilding targets.
The current target for Ashfield requires 8,226 homes to be built by 2038, but Michael Gove MP, the new local government secretary, described the current method of calculation as “out of date” in Parliament last week.
It is unclear how long the pause will last, but Cllr Zadrozny said it “could be six months, a year or longer”.