POLITICAL opponents — and allies — of Cumnock and New Cumnock councillor Jim McMahon had a field day in his absence.

A retrospective application was lodged in regard to a flagpole at a property he owns, which provided some light relief at last week’s planning committee meeting at council HQ.

At the outset, it was explained that Mr McMahon had been unaware that he had to apply for permission for the pole and a new building at the property.

It is because it was in a conservation area, at Sorn, that he had to apply. His fellow councillors were told it had been a ‘genuine mistake’, but that did not prevent some light-hearted suggestions.

Chairman of the meeting, Gordon Jenkins, who is also an SNP councillor, joked that ‘this was a serious offence which should be punishable with three months in jail’.

Meanwhile, referring to the St Andrew’s Cross flag which flies at the property, Labour Councillor Neil McGhee said it should be changed to a Union Jack.

While the matter raised some laughs during what was a fairly long and procedural planning meeting, there remained the serious business of the application.

Supporting it, a neighbour said the garden building is built to a high standard, was aesthetically pleasing in keeping with local buildings and he had no objections.

The application was approved subject to the new building not being used for commercial purposes.