COUNCILLORS have attacked proposals to introduce a team to oversee major planning developments as insulting to council staff.

Members criticised the motion put forward by two councillors who have been two of the heaviest critics in the Silver Hill development saga.

In a heated debate one member pleaded with fellow councillors on the Conservative-led Winchester City Council to stop looking for someone to blame.

Cllr Rose Burns, who had proposed the motion was seconded by ally Cllr Kim Gottlieb.

He was the rebel councillor who brought a judicial review in the High Court, which ruled the council acted unlawfully in its handling of the multi-million pound scheme in 2014.

This follows recommendations made in a report into the now stalled development of Silver Hill for a sub-committee to oversee its future.

The motion called for a cross-party group of councillors to oversee major developments in view of the "lack of development expertise within the council".

Cllr Norma Bodtger (Con) said it was a "ridiculous motion" that made her "extremely angry" as it made it sound like councillors and officers "aren't really very good".

"This is just an insult, an absolute insult to all of us," she added.

Cllr Lucille Thompson, leader of the Liberal Democrats, put forward an alternative motion that took out this reference.

She said the wording was "unfairly critical of officers" and that members should take responsibility for decisions.

She said the idea was "a step in the right direction" and would start to re-establish public trust.

But she faced accusations from some of using this for political point scoring.

Cllr Eileen Berry (Con) said: "You say we should have responsible people, skilled people, we should go out there and find them - what do you think we have got?"

She said the Liberal Democrats had moved the debate on to blame the cabinet.

She said lessons had been learnt and what the Liberal Democrats and Cllr Gottlieb was doing was "tearing us apart".

"Stop putting the blame on officers and then the cabinet - stop it," she said.

"This comes down to whether we trust our officers - do we value them trust their advice."

Cllr Simon Cook said there were an "awful lot of well qualified officers".

However, he did say that other councils did use the background of councillors when setting up working groups and it could be looked at.

Cllr Gottlieb said there was no "nasty slur" and that it was clear from what was said in the recent report that there was a skills shortage at the council.

Cllr Burns said: " I never meant to scapegoat or criticise at all" and suggested changing the wording.

As reported, solicitor Claer Lloyd-Jones, a housing expert, was hired by Winchester City Council to review its approach to the Silver Hill project.

One of her main recommendations was the setting up of a sub-committee to guard the vision for the future development of Silver Hill.

Her report in February came days after the council walked away from its development partner and vowed to start the scheme again.

The motion was only debated and will now go to cabinet.