Time of planning meeting

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  • #95033

    Andrewmackembailey
    Participant

    With the new start time of Wrexham Councils planning meeting this makes it difficult for working councillors to participate. Planning by it’s nature means the public get participating as it affects their community directly. Can all of these members of the public take an afternoon off?
    Let’s hear your views!

    #95047

    johnhoppy
    Participant

    When the councillors were elected the ‘job description’ stated that most meetings would take place in the evenings. Now, half way through their elected terms the goal posts have moved. A bit unfair on working councillors.

    #95050

    BenjaminM
    Participant

    To my mind, it is irrelevant at what time a meeting is scheduled to start. The outcome of most of the meetings is a foregone conclusion where decisions have been taken beforehand, debate expressing a contrary opinion stifled and the professional advice of Officers ignored.
    The meetings that I have observed have been a pure facade, meaningless and totally undemocratic.
    Members are allowed to get away with half truths, embellishments and downright misrepresentation without challenge. The sooner the better that free debate without the use of bullying tactics is utilised.
    Only then, are we more likely to get decisions that benefit all rather than the indulgences of those of a certain party political persuasion.

    #95068

    johnhoppy
    Participant

    Excellent post BenjaminM. Admins….can we have our ‘Like’ button back please?

    #95071

    Andrewmackembailey
    Participant

    To my mind, it is irrelevant at what time a meeting is scheduled to start. The outcome of most of the meetings is a foregone conclusion where decisions have been taken beforehand, debate expressing a contrary opinion stifled and the professional advice of Officers ignored.
    The meetings that I have observed have been a pure facade, meaningless and totally undemocratic.
    Members are allowed to get away with half truths, embellishments and downright misrepresentation without challenge. The sooner the better that free debate without the use of bullying tactics is utilised.
    Only then, are we more likely to get decisions that benefit all rather than the indulgences of those of a certain party political persuasion.

    [/quote
    Whilst not necessarily disagreeing with all your points I would argue that Planning is an exception.
    There is, or should be no whip or pre agreement in this committee and debate is often long and detailed on ” contentious matters. A great difference is with planning members of the public like to attend to hear the debate on applications affecting their neighbourhood. Again we must monitor if this is affected by the earlier start.

    #95072

    Andrewmackembailey
    Participant

    When the councillors were elected the ‘job description’ stated that most meetings would take place in the evenings. Now, half way through their elected terms the goal posts have moved. A bit unfair on working councillors.

    not according to one councillor quoted at the meeting who said ” when councillors sign up they committ to a meeting schedule “. Totally misses your point that these rushed changes happened 60% of the way through a council term!

    #95167

    Born Acorn
    Participant

    I have to agree with BenjaminM. Two examples that spring to mind are the Kings Mills convenience store, and the Coedpoeth Ecclestones Bakery convenience store applications.

    Both went through the full process and had consulted various council departments, in the case of the Coedpoeth one it has even been through planning several times, eliminating several refusal reasons on each successive time. But then the committee always start banging on about made up highways issues. “There’s too much traffic”, “Cars are too fast there”, “there isn’t enough parking” – the chair asks the highways representative and he simply says “our own surveys say there isn’t, and they aren’t, and our own and national guidelines say there is”

    But the highways issues always seem to be the main reasons for councillors not supporting issues.

    How does this look when an inspector in Cardiff has to look at the appeal? The planning officer who had actually supported the application now has to defend its refusal? I note both are undergoing the appeals process:

    https://acp.planningportal.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?CaseID=3006442&CoID=0
    https://acp.planningportal.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?CaseID=3011371&CoID=0

    Given that both applicants point heavily to the overturned Marford decision, pretty similar – I can’t see why the inspector won’t overturn these as well.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by  Born Acorn.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by  Born Acorn.
    #95177

    BenjaminM
    Participant

    Although my comments did not relate specifically to the Planning Committee, let me just say that it would appear very high on my list.
    At the risk of identifying myself to certain Councillor’s with whom I have had dialogue specifically regarding the Kings Mill proposal, I am adamant that due process was not carried out impartially on the merits of the case but rather on the particular whim of certain members present.
    I feel so strongly about the democratic process where every application gets a fair crack of the whip, that I have written to the inspectors offering support for the appeal and pointing out, shall I say, certain ‘facts’ that were brought up when rejecting the application.
    To say I have little confidence in WCBC Councillor’s ability to arrive at reasoned, logical decisions would be an understatement.

    #95178

    Metalhead
    Participant

    …Given that both applicants point heavily to the overturned Marford decision, pretty similar – I can’t see why the inspector won’t overturn these as well.

    Reckon you are probably correct, although the overturning of the Marford decision did raise many eyebrows around these parts. Whatever your view on whether this area wanted/needed this store, it was hard to comprehend how an application with so many issues got passed. For a start it fell foul of the most basic planning law there is, it was too close to a neighbouring residential property.

    The fact that this controversially overruled decision now appears to be setting a precedent for similar applications is a tad concerning TBH. If I recall correctly WCBC’s planning committee voted this application 15-0 against, Borras test drilling was another (think that was 17-2 against), unsurprisingly that decision got overturned as well… If decisions made by local planning committee’s can simply be overturned what exactly is the point of them?

    #95179

    BenjaminM
    Participant

    There have been some quite vociferous comments on Wrexham.com regarding the use of consultants and how everything, or virtually everything should be done in house.

    With that in mind,Officers are employed to do their job diligently and to offer up the best advice, based on experience, codes of practice and compliance with specified legislation. How on earth, pray tell, can Members all too frequently ignore that advice and reject an application out of hand, unless there is something going on that we, as members of the general public are sublimely unaware?

    Now that meetings are broadcast, the cloak of secrecy that has been the norm, has started to be withdrawn and Councillor’s need to be aware that they WILL be held accountable both locally and at a national level.

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