CAMPAIGNERS are calling for a councillor to stand down after an email revealed her 'absolute support' for a cancer charity which wants to build a treatment centre on playing fields in Taunton.

Last month Janet Reed, who represented Rockwell Green on the former Taunton Deane Borough Council, voted to approve a planning application from the Maggie's charity to build a treatment centre on a section of playing fields at Galmington.

The plans have proved controversial among residents, who say while they welcome the Maggie's plan, they do not want to lose green-field space in a built-up, residential area.

Now, they have been further angered by an email, seen by your County Gazette, in which Cllr Reed - responding to a discussion from a resident on a different matter - pledges her support for the centre.

She wrote: "My reasons for this (anger over discussions about Maggie's) were the recent loss of my younger sister and a close friend to this dreaded disease and my absolute support for anything that could help when one is placed in a situation where life can seem hopeless."

Campaigners claim this represents a lack of impartiality required of councillors when voting on planning applications.

Chair of the Friends of Galmington Playing Fields group, Andy Sharman, reacted angrily to the email.

"I offer my sincere condolences to Janet for her loss but I too have lost loved ones to cancer but can operate objectively on this matter," he said.

"I would call on her to immediately resign based on her actions," he said.

"She was not independently minded or objective on that planning committee and was by her own admission, led by her emotions.

READ MORE: Controversial plans for cancer centre in Taunton approved

"She also used that emotion to corral her fellow councillors to support her approval despite our warning that the committee had to separate emotional and vote solely on planning grounds.

"She should have recused herself from this item on this agenda if she was unable to be objective and not sought to influence others on the committee to follow her vote."

Cllr Reed denies she was biased towards approving the application.

She told your County Gazette: "It wasn't pre-judged by me. It was just what I felt about it.

"I would stand by my word and say I didn't pre-judge it.

"We were following advice of planning officers who said we should approve it, that is all you can do.

"Even if it had gone to appeal (after being rejected), it would have won there. The planning officers recommended approval."

Somerset County Gazette:

PROTESTS: Members of the Galmington community have been vehemently against the plans

Mr Sharman said Cllr Reed had ignored her commitments to constituents and 'brought herself, her party, the planning committee and the council into disrepute and should apologise for her actions and remove herself from running again for this authority'.

"The residents we represent were disgusted by her actions on the night and it was an appalling episode for local democracy which shook our confidence in the openness, objectivity and transparency of this council," he added.

READ MORE: Protestors demonstrate against plan for Maggie's on Galmington Playing Fields

The application was approved at a meeting of TDBC's Planning Committee on March 27, with eight votes for and three against.