Neighbourhood Plan – Council start to wriggle
Confronted with new statutory obligations to process neighbourhood planning applications the Council can no longer rely on delay to stop us. Our new application, amended to take account of their ever growing and evolving demands, was submitted on 20th February.
We have now received the letter below in which they are clearly trying to carve themselves enough room to refuse the application. Also see our response below, inviting the Councillor concerned, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, Mark Williams, to come and address an open meeting to make out his ‘concerns’ and hear our responses face to face.
The claim that we are not representative of the local community is pretty rich:
Whenever we have consulted locally on planning issues we have invariably attracted many times as many responses with negligible resources as the Council have with all theirs.
Equally unlikely to provide them with an excuse is the claim that we have insufficient support from the Estates: It was them who dictated the very substantial enlargement of our application area to include the large number of Estate blocks. We can hardly be expected to have invested heavily in publicity in an area introduced on their obstructive whim – especially as they have shown every intention of refusing our application if they can possibly find an excuse. As it happens, we have far more followers and members from the estates than they were able to interest in the paltry meeting they organised in February.
Their most desperate line is that neighbourhood planning groups must be adoration societies for their respective local authority planning departments:
What’s the point of the provision for a referendum in the Localism Act if differences between local plans and those of the local authority are not permitted?