Friday, 22 December 2017

Town councils are consistently ignored over planning

All around the country, Town Councils are getting the very clear impression that they are powerless when it comes to planning matters:
Huge disappointment as town's views 'have been ignored' in Local Plan - wilmslow.co.uk
Thame’s Neighbourhood Plan ‘ignored’ by planning authority says town council / Thame.net
Views of Southwold are ‘being ignored’ by district planners say councillors | Latest Norfolk and Suffolk News - Eastern Daily Press

And so on and so forth...

Nearer to home, one Town Council has thrown in the towel, as reported by the EDW blog:
Buckfastleigh dissolves its planning committee – as district and county councils take no notice of its recommendations | East Devon Watch

Councillors were clearly fed up:

Town council dissolves “clearly impotent” planning committee

Wednesday, 20 December 2017 00:00

A town council in Devon has this month decided to dissolve its planning, environment and transport committee, saying it was “clearly impotent” and risked misleading the public and misdirecting any concerns they had.

In a statement on its website, Buckfastleigh Town Council noted that the committee had till now examined and responded on every local planning application made to the Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA), Teignbridge District Council (TDC) or Devon County Council (DCC).

It said: “At the meeting we observed that as a town council we have in fact had no powers in terms of planning since 1974, when TDC took over most of the powers of the then Buckfastleigh Urban District Council, but that many local people still felt that we had some control over planning decisions. This has led to both misplaced hope that bringing a case to the Planning Committee will make a difference to their case and consequent blame when planning decisions go ahead regardless of their concerns.”

The statement continued: “It has been made quite clear in recent years that the carefully considered and well-informed responses to planning applications to DNPA, TDC and DCC have been ignored by their planning authorities in reaching decisions. In fact BTC [Buckfastleigh Town Council] has recently lodged a formal complaint lodged with DCC about its inability to enforce plannning legislation and its misconduct in issuing planning notices in the case of Whitecleave Quarry.”

Buckfastleigh said that since the start of this council in May 2015, none of the responses submitted by the council in response to any major planning proposal in the parish had had an appreciable effect on the outcome.

The town council added: “We feel that by maintaining a ‘Planning’ committee, which is clearly impotent, we are misleading the public and misdirecting any concerns they have. We believe it would likely have more impact if all the individual councillors and members of the public made their own representations to planning authorities (although evidence is limited that this has any effect either!) and we don’t want to be duped into inadvertently acting as fodder for those authorities going through the motions of carrying out statutory consultative procedures, unless our opinion is actually given some weight.

“We will continue to flag up any planning proposals that are likely to have a significant impact on the parish and fight for the interests of our constituents, but we will no longer formally meet as a planning committee to formulate our responses – these will come from full council. The current Planning, Environment & Transport committee will be dissolved and its members will meet to discuss any future remit.”

Local Government Lawyer - Town council dissolves “clearly impotent” planning committee

It really has generated considerable press coverage:
Devon town council dissolves 'impotent' planning committee | Placemaking Resource
Planning committee dissolves because the 'authorities don't listen' - Devon Live
Devon town dissolves 'ignored' planning committee • PrimeResi

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