THE future of a new Ickenham nursery in the middle of a conservation area was muddied further at an explosive council meeting last night (Tuesday).
Earlier in December, planning permission was approved at the site at Rectory Way, but last night councillors controversially agreed to reverse the decision and send it back to committee with a split three to two vote.
Councillor Anita MacDonald, who voted to keep the nursery, said: "This is absolutely unbelievable, it is the death of democracy in Hillingdon."
Prior to making the decision, members of the public and councillors were ordered to leave the room for half an hour in the middle of the meeting as the committee debated the legality of their actions.
The site in Ickenham Village Conservation Area was due to be considered with a host of conditions to be enforced, including the number of children allowed inside and outside the nursery at any one time.
Councillor Edward Lavery said: "I don't see how we can enforce all these conditions, it is in the middle of a conservation area and it should be sent back so we can look at it again."
Rosemary Hodgson, who lives opposite, and petitioned against the nursery on the grounds of traffic and noise concerns, said: "I'm pleased at the decision, we live to fight another day."
Councillor Edward Lavery, Councillor Allan Kauffman and Councillor Michael Markham voted in favour of the decision, while Councillor Anita MacDonald and Councillor David Allam did not.
Councillor Bruce Baker who chaired the meeting, said: "This is a highly unusual set of circumstances, and we move this motion to rescind the approval and for it to be redetermined under a new committee."
The applicant, Negin Nassabeh was clearly angered at the decision to reverse the approval, and a friend of hers who asked not to be named said: "We are not going to take this lying down, they can't do this."