THE councillor who sparked the investigation which led to the resignation of Oldham Council's planning chief says the probe should continue.

Stephen Irvine quit after news emerged last week of his suspension over allegations of "gross misconduct".

But following his resignation, it was announced the investigation would end.

Helen Lockwood, Oldham council’s deputy chief executive said in a statement: “I can confirm that Stephen Irvine has resigned as head of planning at Oldham Council.

“This decision brings to an end any ongoing internal investigations.

“However, we can confirm that the allegations made were not related to his role in supporting the council’s planning committee nor to the advice or outcome of any planning decision.

“We regret that the details of an internal process relating to an employee were made public before we had chance to undertake an investigation or reach any conclusion as to the validity of those allegations.

“We wish Steve well in the future and thank him for all his hard work for Oldham Council over the years.”

The authority has not said specifically what the "gross misconduct" referred to.

However, the inquiry was triggered following a complaint from Labour councillor Stephen Hewitt, who has represented the Saddleworth and Lees area for more than 20 years.

It was over the Knowls Lane planning application and a chaotic planning committee meeting on July 1.

He alleged Mr Irvine did not give sufficient weight to evidence that would have been detrimental to the proposed application for 265 Russell Homes properties.

Cllr Hewitt told The Oldham times: "I think the investigation should continue. There are a lot of issued with the planning department.

"My original complaint was about Mr Irvine's conducted at the meeting - at the way he appeared to railroad the planning committee into approving the application.

"I have sent to the chief executive 21 Youtube videos from other authorities of how other planning directors conduct themselves and none of them are like he was."

Now, Cllr Hewitt and two other ward councillors, Valerie Leach (Labour) and Sam Al-Hamdani (Lib/Dem) are backing the Save Our Valleys campaign which is aiming to force a judicial review and get the planning approval for Knowls Lane overturned.

He said the Save Our Valleys campaign had already raised £8,000 of the £50,000 needed to finance the judicial review.

Cllr Hewitt said: "There were 220 letters of objection to the application and a 1,000 name petition, but none of this was presented to the committee.

"The way the planning application was forced through was wrong."