Councillor Iain Gaul told Kirriemuir community councillors that a recent application seeking outline planning permission for the scheme, which would involve the closure of both sites and the opening of a new centre at Padanaram, had been lodged in error.
He added that the proposal had not even been discussed and approved, or otherwise, by Forfar and Kirrie councillors.
The suggestion has already attracted objections from members of the public but Mr Gaul said that even if the scheme, which is at a tentative stage, is approved, it would not happen for another 18 months or more.
He said: “An officer put forward an application for outline planning permission despite being instructed not to. Someone made a mistake - it happens.
“It was done before other boxes were ticked such as consultation and input from all seven councillors which hasn’t been done.”
Chairman Dave Milne questioned the amount of work that had gone into the proposal already, including the production of drawings and a supporting statement but Mr Gaul said this is standard procedure.
The proposal centres on an 8,000 square metre site near Dragon Hall Farm which would also require a new junction at the 40mph speed limit on the outskirts of Padanaram.
Mr Gaul continued: “Officers don’t just come along with a proposal and talk to people, there has to be paperwork, drawings, costings and specifications and that happens for all projects; some go ahead and some don’t.”
The community council also queried whether or not the council has the money to spend on the development of the Padanaram site but Mr Gaul hinted that costs could be met by the sale of the current site in Queenswell Road.
He said: “If you look at Queenswell Road, we have a brownfield site with a positive planning outlook in a commercial area. It might be that no-one would buy it but it’s deemed to be a site that could be brought on and it’s worth money to the council. That’s where this would be funded.”
Mr Gaul emphasised that procedures had not been bypassed and that the proposal would go before the council’s policy and budget strategy group for examination before the consultation process would begin.