A ‘like’ on LinkedIn has angered many Haslemere residents as they believe it calls into question a planning inspector’s impartiality.

Planning inspector Tom Bristow ‘liked’ a LinkedIn post by Charles Collins, lead adviser and witness for the developer.

LinkedIn post Red Court appeal
(Photo supplied)

After concerns were raised, a letter was sent out stating the ‘like’ was an “acknowledgement that the inquiry was under way” and that Mr Bristow “was happy to be there” and that it “signified nothing more, and has now been withdrawn”. 

Howard Brown, chair of Haslemere South Residents Association, said: “The explanation of the inspector’s social media engagement seems to be a case of ‘after the horse has bolted’ if the intention is to reassure the public of a fair, impartial process.

“The explanation that the inspector wanted to indicate he was simply “happy to be there” at the inquiry when he ‘liked’ the developer’s agent’s LinkedIn post does little to reassure us, or to redress the appearance of bias in seeming to endorse one party during a very high stakes live planning appeal. 

If the ‘like’ was indeed of no consequence, then why has it now been removed?”