IN response to Coun McDonald's letter of craven apology as to why he and all Lib Dem members of the planning committee voted for the Castlegate development (May 7), I would like to say why I, as a Labour member, voted against the application.

His contention is that they were obliged to do so because they had to comply with the official planning brief.

A planning brief is an important document but exists to guide members to a decision - not to lay down orders for strict compliance.

Although he tries to sound sorry about it, neither Coun McDonald nor his fellow Lib Dems raised any points of concern about the scheme during the meeting. They all voted for it.

If he had read the brief carefully, he might have noted important principles laid down about the quality of development required here. For example: "Inspired architectural design and layout is essential."

This is why I voted against the planning application. The design was simply not worthy of the place nor of the city. So unlike Coun McDonald, I have no need to belatedly apologise for my vote which was no to the development as proposed.

Coun David Wilde,

Wellington Street, York.

Updated: 11:09 Wednesday, May 21, 2003