A CALL has been made for a council planning chief to resign over proposals to build a multi-million pound care village on land he owns.

But Martin Hatley, who chairs Test Valley Borough Council’s planning committee, says he has no intention of giving up his seat despite suggestions from critics that he looks to gain a fortune from the scheme at Ampfield.

The proposed Perbury Group development at the Former North Hill Sawmill Yard in Baddesley Road, a green field site, consists of a 65-bed care home, 87 extra care units, 16 age-restricted retirement bungalows, a community building and convenience store.

Lib Dem councillor Mark Cooper says the Conservative portfolio holder for planning policy should resign as he owns about 20 per cent of the land involved.

“He is using his planning knowledge for his own personal gain,” claimed Cllr Cooper, who represents Romsey Town.

“The planning officers will be very hard pushed to make a decision on this application because Hatley is their employer.”

Cllr Cooper added that proposals for the sawmill site run counter to TVBC’s local plan, which states the site in question should not be used for housing as it is countryside.

Cllr Hatley is also in line to take over the helm of the council following the announcement that current leader Ian Carr will step down in May.

“The only way this issue can be solved is if he detaches himself from the leadership, the planning portfolio and the council as well,” said Cllr Cooper.

“I have no issue with the planning application itself, but for Hatley and the council to retain their integrity he has to resign.”

However, Cllr Hatley says he is doing nothing wrong and he is not part of any discussions the council is having with the planning developers.

“I have not even seen the plans,” he claimed.

Cllr Hatley says he took advice from the council’s legal department and consulted the code of conduct for councillors with respect to planning applications.

“I am quite satisfied that I have complied fully with these requirements as I have been taking no involvement with the planning application.”

Cllr Hatley inherited the land along with two other siblings following the death of his parents.

“We thought the care village would be a better legacy for my parents (than a housing estate),” he added. “We have done what we think our late parents would have wanted.”

A Test Valley Borough Council spokesperson added: “The council can confirm that councillor Hatley has received legal advice from the authority’s head of legal and democratic services. The council does not disclose the content of legal advice given to individual members.”