A decision on whether to build 13 homes at a former stables has been delayed.

Hertsmere Borough Council’s planning committee voted to defer an application to redevelop Cowley Hill Stables in Borehamwood during a meeting last night.

The decision was made after claims from a committee member that "a threatening and aggressive email" was sent to the council about him from applicants Griggs Homes on Wednesday.

A senior spokesperson for Griggs Homes has denied the allegations and says it is seeking a "formal public retraction of the allegations and apology from those involved".

The council’s planning committee were scheduled to consider plans to build 11 houses and two flats at Cowley Hill stables.

But before the item could be discussed, Conservative Borehamwood councillor Glenn Briski announced that he would not be taking part in the discussion.

He told the chamber: "Earlier this week, I together with all other members of the committee received lots of correspondence from residents concerning item 5a (Cowley Hill Stables) on the agenda.

"After forwarding this to officers, as well as yourself (committee chairman Cllr Linda Silver), I wrote on Facebook saying that if we do not receive further information, it is likely this application will be deferred subject to a committee vote."

Borehamwood Times: The Facebook post by Cllr Briski published in a public community groupThe Facebook post by Cllr Briski published in a public community group

In his post in the Well End community Facebook group, Cllr Briski said "serious concerns" had been highlighted and he pointed to a lack of consultation with sporting bodies including the British Horse Society and Sport England.

Cllr Briski continued in the meeting: "In response to this (post), the applicant emailed officers containing a number of threats….the email that was sent by the applicant was very aggressive, very dishonest, and I think it cast doubt over all the information they have provided. I will not be taking part in item 5a because it may be perceived I have pre-determined (it)."

When asked if he could elaborate on his comments, Cllr Briski told the Times: "I was verbally read the parts of the email relating to me and my comments at the meeting were based on that."

The Times has seen sight of this email.

Borehamwood Times: The meeting was held at the council offices in BorehamwoodThe meeting was held at the council offices in Borehamwood

Following Cllr Briski’s comments, fellow committee member and leader of the Labour group, Cllr Jeremy Newmark, said in the meeting: "What we’ve just heard from Cllr Briski is a very serious matter indeed. It’s an allegation in effect that he as a member of this committee has been bullied by an applicant."

He submitted a motion to adjourn the meeting, which it duly was. The meeting then resumed and Cllr Silver proposed to defer the meeting, based on Cllr Briski’s remarks, and this was carried.

Borehamwood Times: A bird's eye view of Cowley Hill Stables. Credit: GoogleA bird's eye view of Cowley Hill Stables. Credit: Google

A spokesperson for Griggs Homes, which is locally based, has confirmed to the Times the company sent the council two separate emails - one regarding Cllr Briski and one Cllr Newmark - but said allegations the emails were "threatening and aggressive" are "serious accusations which clearly are not true".

They told the Times: "On Wednesday afternoon it was bought to our attention two members of the planning committee (Cllr Briski & Cllr Newmark) had and were engaging in communications on Facebook directly in regards to our application for Cowley Hill Stables, which was due to be determined by the planning committee the following day.

"The advice we received was that it could be considered and appeared that these members had pre-determined the application and that their conduct was unusual and outside of normal practice by members of a planning committee."

Borehamwood Times: CGI of the proposed redevelopment schemeCGI of the proposed redevelopment scheme

They continued: "At the earliest opportunity we wrote to the head of legal services at Hertsmere Borough Council raising our concerns in regards to the information we had seen and respectfully requested that neither of the said members be allowed to participate in the debate or the vote on the application given their communications.

"We advised the council that in the event that they did (take part) we would have to consider our position accordingly. We received a reply from the head of legal.

"We are unaware of what conversations then took place between the members and the council’s legal department."

In light of Griggs' statement, Cllr Newmark told the Times he "stands by" the comments he made in the chamber regarding Griggs' "bullying behaviour".

The Griggs spokesperson said: "There was no alleged threats, aggression, dishonesty or bullying.

"We will be seeking a formal public retraction of the allegations, clarification and an apology from the councillors involved."

The next steps regarding the application to redevelop Cowley Hill Stables are unclear at this stage.

During consultation, the scheme received 257 objections and 91 comment of support.