The mystery of planning
PUBLISHED: 11:13 26 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:30 06 May 2010
The farce continues. In her rush to defend herself, Councillor Joan Lloyd has managed to totally miss the point. There was no need to give a detailed explanation of the meeting rules, thank you, as we are well aware of them. The point at issue was that we
The farce continues. In her rush to defend herself, Councillor Joan Lloyd has managed to totally miss the point.
There was no need to give a detailed explanation of the meeting rules, thank you, as we are well aware of them. The point at issue was that we objected to the fact that we were not allowed to point out at the beginning of the meeting that the planning officer's presentation was based on an incorrect slide, thus making the meeting pointless. The adjective pugnacious was chosen with great care, as this perfectly described the way in which the chairperson dealt with this matter. Our opinion of the voting of the councillors at the end is of no relevance to this at all.
Incidentally, I was saddened to read that fear of litigation weighed more heavily in the minds of the planning department than matters of public safety.
A STILL DISGUSTED RESIDENT OF STEVENAGE.
* Councillor Joan Lloyd's explanations of the planning committee rules prompts me to write about my experiences.
As one who will be overlooked by the new developments between Fairview Road and the railway, I had written several times to the planning officer, but in my view, he failed to convey my concerns to the planning committee in his presentation. I asked if I could speak; Councillor Lloyd ruled against me. My letters appear to have been a waste of time.
These 198 flats and houses were approved at double the recommended maximum density, with the sole vehicle access onto a narrow road and with parking provision less than for other developments simply because the project has the backing of the man at the top -- John Prescott.
Several years ago, getting permission for our bungalow with access onto that same road took six applications to the committee, including Councillor Lloyd, and two appeals to the DoE.
Before applying I had obtained agreement from British Rail for access over their land. When submitting an application, I had to inform British Rail and addressed that to the company secretary who advised the council that access would be denied. Within two weeks, I had obtained permission in writing and submitted another application with a copy of that letter. At the planning meeting, the planning officer told the committee that they had already turned this down, nothing had changed, and that they should turn it down again. I said but ... but the planning officer told me that I could observe but not speak. I said but ...and he said that if I continued he would have me thrown out. That application was refused.
I obtained permission eventually because I had copies of the DoE planning guidelines which councils are obliged to follow. The committee begrudgingly granted permission only after the Head of Planning told the committee that if they refused permission again, then he would be put into the embarrassing position of backing the applicant's appeal against his own council.
This bungling was typical of my problems.
DAVID STONEBANKS, Address withheld
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