Campaigners who have lost their battle against plans for a housing development near a tranquil Birmingham reservoir last night claimed they were prevented from submitting a full objection to the scheme following a council blunder.
Birmingham Civic Society claims it was told by officials manning the council's planning hotline that the deadline for submitting objections to plans to build 40 houses and 50 apartments at Edgbaston Reservoir was tomorrow.
But the application, which has sparked outrage from much of the local community, was heard last Thursday.
The scheme was given the go-ahead by the planning committee after chairman Coun David Roy (Con Sutton Vesey) used his casting vote to reject a site visit, as the other 14 members were divided on whether to defer a decision on the plans.
Dennis Minnis, a former city councillor and member of the Civic Society's planning committee, said he was "flabbergasted" when he discovered the organisation had missed the deadline.
He said: "I called the general inquiry line in early December and was told we had until January 10. Members of the society had arranged for a meeting at the weekend to put together extensive objections.
"But I was flabbergasted when I found out we had missed the planning meeting because we had a number of very important issues we wanted to raise.
"I have never had any problems with the council's inquiry system before. It is usually very reliable. But I really cannot believe that this mistake has been made."
The society was listed as a formal objector to the plans, but was not able to give its reasons to councillors.
Phil Crabtree, the council's assistant director of planning, said he could not understand why the civic society had thought the meeting would have been held on Wednesday.
He said: "Planning committee meetings are always held on a Thursday unless there is an election, when they are held on Wednesdays.
"The planning papers were sent out with the public documentation before Christmas and they were also on the internet. The date of the meeting was included in this so I am mystified by this."
Mr Crabtree said the proposals satisfied planning policy and were the best deal for the reservoir and residents in surrounding areas.
Developer Countrywide Homes had sweetened the deal with more than £500,000 earmarked for local schools and the reservoir.
Committee member Coun Martin Mullaney (Lib Dem Moseley and Kings Heath) had urged the committee to visit the site before making a decision.
His proposal was over-ruled by Coun Roy, before members voted to approve the scheme by nine votes to five.
Coun Deirdre Alden (Con Edgbaston) said: "I think it is outrageous that a big organisation like the Civic Society has not been able to comment on a scheme which will have such a massive impact on the local community."
Local community groups and councillors have voiced anger over the scale of the proposals, which include two four-storey apartments standing on the water's edge.
Chris Vaughan, chairman of Friends of Edgbaston Reservoir, said: "We are not particularly opposed to housing but it is these two huge four-storey buildings that are totally improper for that reservoir."