A PLANNING committee meeting descended into farce last week as councillors voted for a motion without knowing what it was.

West Dunbartonshire Council wanted to bid for Heritage Lottery funding towards their Rediscovering the Antonine Wall Project, hoping to increase awareness of the landmark and boost tourism.

The wall, which ran from Old Kilpatrick to Falkirk, would be celebrated by a series of replica Roman distance slabs, Roman-themed play facilities, re-shooting a 1960s film about the route of the wall and other projects.

But Bailie Denis Agnew objected to the use of replicas and argued the council should demand the originals be returned from the Hunterian museum.

He said: “I raised this many times. The mile stones and alter pieces within other organisations should be returned to the areas of origin. Having a replica is not the same.

“Replicas should be in museums pointing to West Dunbartonshire.”

But cultural officials said they asked Historic and Environment Scotland who advised the artefacts had to stay where they were. To put them back would expose them to weathering and cause further erosion.

Bailie Agnew replied: “We should be challenging that. The Antonine Wall is a tremendous project. It’s important we look to our own heritage. I think it would augment our tourist numbers significantly.”

At that point, planning convener Councillor Jim Finn moved the motion, and all councillors said “agreed” – as Bailie Agnew added an amendment to appeal for the return of items.

He thanked the committee for voting with him and the meeting descended into confusion.

Councillor Diane Docherty said: “What did we just agree to?”

Planning boss Pamela Clifford warned such a change could “jeopardise the whole stage two” funding application.

Bailie Agnew countered: “It’s been agreed.”

Cllr Finn insisted he only moved the motion as originally planned.

Councillor Lawrence O’Neill said: “I heard Bailie Agnew but that’s not what I agreed to.”

The votes were then clarified and the committee voted to proceed with the funding application. Bailie Agnew’s dissent was recorded.