A Herefordshire parish councillor who “mixed up his role with that of a private objector” has been reprimanded for his part in trying to stop a neighbour using land as an airstrip.

Herefordshire Council’s monitoring officer has found that Coun David Cooper breached Holmer & Shelwick Parish Council’s code of conduct regarding personal interests.

This arose from an application by Gary Waring of Lyde Court north of Hereford, who in November 2021 applied for planning permission to regularise use of a strip of land for light aircraft flights as part of the property’s wedding venue business.


The application was narrowly passed by councillors on the county planning committee in June last year, despite Coun Cooper objecting in person on the parish council’s behalf.

Coun Cooper had earlier written to the estate’s owner the Duchy of Cornwall objecting to the airstrip, and had submitted the Duchy’s reply to the planning consultation in his personal objection to the plan.

According to the unnamed bringer of the complaint, Coun Cooper misled the Duchy into believing this and other letters were formal representations from the parish council, then failed to declare his personal interest during the planning meeting.


The monitoring officer has now concluded that Coun Cooper “gained information that he would not have received had he not advised that he was a parish councillor” from his letters to the Duchy.

This status also enabled him to address the planning meeting, where his views “could have more weight” than as one of the dozens of private citizens objecting – an involvement he did not make clear at the time.

“At the heart of the matter, Mr Cooper is mixing up his role as a parish councillor with his role as an objector, and he cannot be both at the same time,” the monitoring officer concluded.

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Coun Cooper had said in his defence that, advised by the parish clerk, the test he had applied to himself was whether his property directly adjoined Lyde Court, which it did not.

“I am satisfied that Mr Cooper did not intentionally seek not to disclose his interest, but rather he and the rest of the parish council have been using an incorrect test,” the monitoring officer said, and recommended that all members of the parish council undertake training in their own code of conduct.

Meanwhile Mr Waring’s planning victory last summer appears to have been in vain, as the Duchy confirmed shortly after: “There is to be no flying at all from Lower Lyde Court.”