Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Planning Pickle

Proposed Pickethead Hill development was unanimously defeated at planning committee yesterday. I’ve asked about the reasons I gave for refusal. It was obvious that the planning committee would refuse; however there is always the danger that the applicant will appeal to the Planning Inspector. The reasons I proposed for refusal were, I believe robust enough to bare scrutiny at a planning appeal. Why didn’t I object on highway grounds? There were good highways reasons to refuse this application, but experience told me Planning Inspectors take a dim view of councillors second guessing the highway authority, and it can prejudice the case. Why didn’t I use the Eric Pickles letter to the Daily Telegraph? I’m sorry but it was simply a piece of political sophistry, telling people what the want to hear and in reality changing nothing. The current administration was elected on five points – number two being to build lots of houses – the Conservative leader of the council, has been quite candid about this fact in speeches and literature. This is a very inconvenient fact for some Conservative councillors, when faced with the consequences of their own policy. We don’t need our countryside concreted over to make a few people very rich; we do need homes for local families. I succeeded in getting the former Inverteign Infants School site s used for social housing – what is today Inverteign Heights. The county had wanted to dispose of it for private housing. We have brownfield sites around the town that could be used for housing for local families.

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