Nine Acre Field

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    Was the Travellers site mention intended to be a tongue in cheek throw away comment not to be taken literally?
    Difficult to do with the written word.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by zinger. Reason: mis-spelt


    Reading for Councilors before the Planning Meeting–


    What is Bias and Predetermination?
    The law on bias and predetermination (which is a particular form of bias) is part
    of the general legal obligation on public authorities to act fairly.
    Decision makers are entitled to be predisposed to particular views. However,
    predetermination occurs where someone closes their mind to any other
    possibility beyond that predisposition, with the effect that they are unable to
    apply their judgement fully and properly to an issue requiring a decision.

    The leading case on local authority bias and predetermination1
    acknowledges the
    difference between judges sitting judicially and councillors making decisions in a
    democratic environment. Given the role of councillors, there must be ‘clear
    pointers’ before predetermination is established.
    Section 25 Localism Act 2011
    Section 25(2) of the Localism Act 2011 provides that a decision maker is not to
    be taken to have had, or to have appeared to have had, a closed mind when
    making a decision just because –
    (a) the decision maker had previously done anything that directly or indirectly
    indicated what view the decision maker took, or would or might take in
    relation to a matter, and
    (b) the matter was relevant to the decision.
    The section makes it clear that if a councillor has given a view on an issue, this,
    considered in isolation, does not show that the councillor has a closed mind on
    that issue. So, the mere fact that a councillor has campaigned on an issue or
    made public statements about their approach to an item of council business does
    not prevent that councillor from being able to participate in discussion of that
    issue and to vote on it.
    Having said this, the use of the words ‘just because’ in section 25 suggest that
    other factors when combined with statements made etc. can still give rise to
    accusations of predetermination. This has also been the approach that the courts
    have taken to this issue. When considering whether predetermination has taken
    place they will consider all events leading to the decision, (and also, where
    appropriate, those following the decision) rather than looking at individual events
    in isolation.
    The case law has also made it clear that the words used by particular members
    and the interpretation put on those words is of particular importance. So care still
    needs to be taken when making statements in advance of the determination of
    planning applications as there is a risk that they can be misinterpreted or taken
    out of context.

    (R(Lewis)v Persimmon Homes Teeside Ltd [2008] EWCA Civ 746
    With this in mind:-
    • It is always advisable to avoid giving the impression that you have made up
    your mind prior to the decision making meeting and hearing the officer’s
    presentation and any representations made on behalf of the applicant and any
    • With this in mind, if you do comment on a development proposal in advance
    the decision, consider using a form of words that makes it clear that you have
    yet to make up your mind and will only do so at the appropriate time and in
    the light of the advice and material put before you and having regard to the
    discussion and debate in the Panel meeting.
    • Particular care should be taken where there are chance encounters with
    objectors to development proposals or in the context of meetings which are
    not formally minuted. These are situations where the risk of what you say
    being misrepresented or taken out of context is particularly high.

    Concluding Comments
    As a councillor operating within a political environment you should not be afraid to
    express views on issues. However, in doing so it is important that you avoid giving
    the impression that you have already made up your mind and that your part in the
    decision is a foregone conclusion.



    I believe the lead member has gone beyond the terms of reference and should resign. If ever there was a Lead Member for Sewage, in my opinion he is ready-made for it, as he talks a lot of it.




    The Planning Committee is made up of fifteen Councillors plus the chairman, if they all turn up to the meeting. Their decision will be binding , there will be no appeal and no chance for the Full Council , made up of all elected members, to vote on the proposal. So only nine votes either way will carry the day !



    Wrexview – I think the chair has two votes if the members – not sure where you got the figure of 15 – on the Council site there is a list of 20. There have been 4 Planning Meetings since the election – none of the Members has attended all meetings and nearly 25% have only attended one meeting. Wonder how many will turn up for the meeting and how many will ‘duck’ the issue by not attending!



    Jane:-There are 16 on the Planning Committee. I think you are looking at the attendees for the 4 meetings this year. These will include councillors supporting an application but not necessarily having a vote.



    Thanks for clarity



    So it is a significant NO to the use of Nine Acre fo St Mary’s – now the campaigners have won this battle let’s hope they now have proposals for how the field should be used. We do not want another Groves site were the campaign group managed to get the site listed yet they have still not come up with any plans for the site leaving rate payers paying £100’s thousands for security and other safety and leaving the building to probably collapse on itself.

    Interesting Head of Education Karen Evans made an irrelevant statement about St Mary’s not having a playing field- this is effectively a totally misleading statement as the school has direct access to Bellevue Parc and has used the park as their playing field for at least the past 50 years. Why also wheel out the Councils own Dir of Education when the school does not fall under her remit as it is a Catholic School so a different governance structure.



    The Planning Committee Chairman stated at the beginning of the meeting that the discussion should centre only on the application in front of them. However council officers Karen Evans and Matthew Phillips constantly referred to the present St Mary”s School rather than the actual plan before of the committee. When the Groves site was mentioned the chairman interjected that reference should only be made to the site under discussion. It took Stella Matthews to point out the inconsistency, which Michael Morris the chairman agreed.

    There appeared to be a consensus that St Mary’s School needs replacing but not on this site. Maybe it could be built on the edge of the city, perhaps along Ruthin Road near Clywedog School, Brickfield Rangers already have some pitches in that area. The Catholic Church sold off their land by St Joseph’s School, which would have been ideal for the new school, for housing.



    There must be potential room on the Ysgol Clywedog site afor St Mary’s as the Council about 6 years ago drew up plans for a through school (Nursery, Primary and secondary) all on one site. The plan was to move Victoria as they suffer from overcrowding (also their playing field is actually the old Victoria Road burial ground- many of the older readers of that went to Victoria will remember marching to Brickfield or ‘Bryn Offa’ for sports activities – 50 years ago the burial ground still had all the gravestones in place).

    Karen Evans perhaps needs to get her facts right about school playing fields as if that is a criteria than the Council need to move Victoria school as well!!>

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