Cotswold District Council's planning committee in "real danger" of being put into special measures following poor record of planning appeals

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Cotswold District Council's planning committee in "real danger" of being put into special measures following poor record of planning appeals Cotswold District Council's planning committee in "real danger" of being put into special measures following poor record of planning appeals

MAJOR planning decisions could be made outside the jurisdiction of Cotswold District Council, after it was revealed that the authority was on the verge of being put into special measures.

The announcement was made by Cllr Robin Hughes, chairman of CDC’s planning committee, during a debate at the January planning meeting in which members refused an application for 120 homes in Fairford.

Cllr Hughes told the committee that, in light of its recent record of failed planning appeals, there was a “real danger” of the council being assigned special measures.

This would allow developers of major products to submit planning applications directly to the Planning Inspectorate and completely bypass CDC’s elected planning committee.

Cllr Nick Parsons, cabinet member for forward planning, said that, to avoid special measures, the committee must only reject future applications when there is a valid reason for doing so, even if “there is overwhelming opposition from local residents”.

He also said that the council currently meets the required time taken to determine its major applications.

CDC recently lost an appeal in the High Court to overturn a decision made by the Planning Inspectorate to build nearly 300 homes in Tetbury.

The council, which had originally refused permission for the 289 homes last February, was fighting to overturn an intervention by the Secretary of State to allow the build to go ahead.

Further criticism was heaped on CDC’s planning committee in 2011 after it failed to deliver an up-to-date Local Plan that would set out the district’s development requirements up until 2031.

The leader of CDC, Cllr Lynden Stowe, said that the committee members were “quite right” to support communities in their objections to unwanted developments but that central government had taken a different view.

“The coalition government has moved the planning policy goalposts on a regular basis and it looks as though there is now very little scope to oppose unwelcome development,” he said.

If special measures were introduced, CDC would join only a handful of other councils across the country to be stripped of its decision making powers.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP for the Cotswolds, told the Standard that special measures would be “extremely unwelcome” as it overrides localism in planning.

“I will do whatever I can to prevent the government nationalising planning decisions in the Cotswolds. We do not want decades of careful planning ruined in a few years of unrestrained growth,” he said.

The MP has planned to discuss the situation at a meeting with planning minister Nick Boles and the leaders of both Cotswold and Stroud District Council.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, Lib Dem leader on CDC, said it would be a “disaster” if people outside the area were given the power to decide where houses are built.

“It shows that the council’s administration has lost control due to its lack of a Local Plan and five year housing supply,” he said.

Comments (13)

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11:39am Thu 20 Feb 14

stephen3219 says...

even if “there is overwhelming opposition from local residents”, planning permission must go ahead says Cllr Robin Hughes.
In other words , ignore the peasants and just do it.Guess you didn't become a Councillor for the people then Hughes!!!!
even if “there is overwhelming opposition from local residents”, planning permission must go ahead says Cllr Robin Hughes. In other words , ignore the peasants and just do it.Guess you didn't become a Councillor for the people then Hughes!!!! stephen3219

1:56pm Thu 20 Feb 14

Cotswold Lad says...

What I find confusing is that the CDC Planning staff understand the rules/regulations so why, oh why, didn't they get their act together 3-4 years ago and develop a proper Local Plan.
I can only conclude that the Conservative led CDC is behaving as if they are "on the side of property developers" and have used the excuse of not having a plan to allow these applications through. Perhaps they think that the incomers are more likely to be Conservative voters?
What I find confusing is that the CDC Planning staff understand the rules/regulations so why, oh why, didn't they get their act together 3-4 years ago and develop a proper Local Plan. I can only conclude that the Conservative led CDC is behaving as if they are "on the side of property developers" and have used the excuse of not having a plan to allow these applications through. Perhaps they think that the incomers are more likely to be Conservative voters? Cotswold Lad

3:41pm Thu 20 Feb 14

Crispin Mount says...

- Why has the CEO and Head of Planning not been sacked or resigned ?

- Why has the political leadership allowed this state of affairs to arise ?

- Why has the Cabinet Member for Planning not resigned ?

- Why has there not been a regime change ?

Back in 2011 when the Planning Department should have been drafting a Local development Plan, I recall they were particularly busy trying to nail anti-corruption Cllr Jenkins to his cross.

The local Tories have imploded and have lost the plot (but not that building plot coming near you anytime soon).
- Why has the CEO and Head of Planning not been sacked or resigned ? - Why has the political leadership allowed this state of affairs to arise ? - Why has the Cabinet Member for Planning not resigned ? - Why has there not been a regime change ? Back in 2011 when the Planning Department should have been drafting a Local development Plan, I recall they were particularly busy trying to nail anti-corruption Cllr Jenkins to his cross. The local Tories have imploded and have lost the plot (but not that building plot coming near you anytime soon). Crispin Mount

5:47pm Thu 20 Feb 14

Susie Clark says...

Let's forget the political rhetoric here and get our heads round what actually seems to have happened
1) So, the council is not "on the side of developers" after all and refuses permission for sites across the Cotswolds
2) The developers appeal
3) The coalition government accepts the appeal on the basis that 1) has happened and , as a result ,there aren't enough houses in the pipeline
4) The council,still trying to defend the countryside , appeals against the decison and loses
5) Houses are built

If the council avoided steps 1 ) to 4) , 5) would happen immediately and the council would then be accused of being " on the side of developers "
What would you do, Crispin - allow the developments in the first place or fight them, as the council has done . You're kidding yourself that a local development plan would make any difference. Do you really think that a Coalition government would just roll over and agree to fewer houses being built just because a local plan says so - no goverment in the last 20 years has blindly accepted local plans and this government even less so, with immigration as it is and a housing policy in favour of development. Get real !
Let's forget the political rhetoric here and get our heads round what actually seems to have happened 1) So, the council is not "on the side of developers" after all and refuses permission for sites across the Cotswolds 2) The developers appeal 3) The coalition government accepts the appeal on the basis that 1) has happened and , as a result ,there aren't enough houses in the pipeline 4) The council,still trying to defend the countryside , appeals against the decison and loses 5) Houses are built If the council avoided steps 1 ) to 4) , 5) would happen immediately and the council would then be accused of being " on the side of developers " What would you do, Crispin - allow the developments in the first place or fight them, as the council has done . You're kidding yourself that a local development plan would make any difference. Do you really think that a Coalition government would just roll over and agree to fewer houses being built just because a local plan says so - no goverment in the last 20 years has blindly accepted local plans and this government even less so, with immigration as it is and a housing policy in favour of development. Get real ! Susie Clark

9:42pm Thu 20 Feb 14

Olly Cromwell says...

Er, by failing to have a Local development Plan in place since 2011 the local Tories prove by their (in)actions they ARE on the side of their developer chums.

You'd be forgiven for thinking it was all a deliberate policy....
Er, by failing to have a Local development Plan in place since 2011 the local Tories prove by their (in)actions they ARE on the side of their developer chums. You'd be forgiven for thinking it was all a deliberate policy.... Olly Cromwell

11:12am Fri 21 Feb 14

drg40mg says...

All District Councillors have the same problem. They are elected as representatives, too many of their voters think they are delegates, and too many soon pursuade themselves that they are instant experts.

And then election time looms.

Time was when local Councillors thought their job was to oversee the implmentation of their manifesto by the professional officers. It is an afront that the District Local Plan which would clearly set out the Councils view on the future, having consulted on the issue, which should be the planning Councillor's Bible and inform their decisions is missing. Very convenient for those who see the absence of a proper plan as an excellent opportunity for dodgy deeds.

As an aside, did the Council ever consult on the emphasis they now place on raising funds through car parking charges? Are these grossly inflated charges good for their voters? Good for town centre shopkeepers and the town centrre as a whole? Or merely a shabby way of raising funds? I look at some of the planning applications that do get through and one wonders, given modern car usage, where the cars are intended to park, except in expensive council car parks, raising funds for the Council. Except the supermarkets,of course, who have large dedicated parking areas, but then, they have special arrangments.
All District Councillors have the same problem. They are elected as representatives, too many of their voters think they are delegates, and too many soon pursuade themselves that they are instant experts. And then election time looms. Time was when local Councillors thought their job was to oversee the implmentation of their manifesto by the professional officers. It is an afront that the District Local Plan which would clearly set out the Councils view on the future, having consulted on the issue, which should be the planning Councillor's Bible and inform their decisions is missing. Very convenient for those who see the absence of a proper plan as an excellent opportunity for dodgy deeds. As an aside, did the Council ever consult on the emphasis they now place on raising funds through car parking charges? Are these grossly inflated charges good for their voters? Good for town centre shopkeepers and the town centrre as a whole? Or merely a shabby way of raising funds? I look at some of the planning applications that do get through and one wonders, given modern car usage, where the cars are intended to park, except in expensive council car parks, raising funds for the Council. Except the supermarkets,of course, who have large dedicated parking areas, but then, they have special arrangments. drg40mg

2:20am Sat 22 Feb 14

David Broad says...

I think you and I know full well Crispin that the Planning Department do not draw up the Local Plan. A separate Forward Planning department staffed by 12 officers is responsible for drawing up the Local Plan 2011 - 2021 which is in preparation. Robin was only restating what officers had said earlier and that no matter how strident the local opposition if there are no Planning breasons for refusing an application then it will inevitably be overturned at appeal and if decisions are repeatedly overturned at appeal then special measures may be imposed wjhich essentially involve the applicant going straight to appeal tius bypassing CDC. At Fairford we refused an application on drainage grounds when the applicant had outlined measures to solve the drainage issue, this was never going to stand up at appeal.
I think you and I know full well Crispin that the Planning Department do not draw up the Local Plan. A separate Forward Planning department staffed by 12 officers is responsible for drawing up the Local Plan 2011 - 2021 which is in preparation. Robin was only restating what officers had said earlier and that no matter how strident the local opposition if there are no Planning breasons for refusing an application then it will inevitably be overturned at appeal and if decisions are repeatedly overturned at appeal then special measures may be imposed wjhich essentially involve the applicant going straight to appeal tius bypassing CDC. At Fairford we refused an application on drainage grounds when the applicant had outlined measures to solve the drainage issue, this was never going to stand up at appeal. David Broad

7:36am Sat 22 Feb 14

Col Mustard says...

"Villages must bear the brunt of 240,000 urgently-needed affordable homes if the countryside is to be protected from “large scale” developments, the Princess Royal has argued."

Just what we need really big estates ! Lets start with 1500 affordable Bovis Homes on the Gatcombe Park Estate eh Anne ....
Another great hypocrite was the previous useless MP for Cirencester Nicholas Ridley who despite saying the countryside was not a museum
. As Secretary of State for the Environment, Ridley opposed a low-cost housing development near his own property, earning him the title of NIMBY (‘Not In My Back Yard’).......
"Villages must bear the brunt of 240,000 urgently-needed affordable homes if the countryside is to be protected from “large scale” developments, the Princess Royal has argued." Just what we need really big estates ! Lets start with 1500 affordable Bovis Homes on the Gatcombe Park Estate eh Anne .... Another great hypocrite was the previous useless MP for Cirencester Nicholas Ridley who despite saying the countryside was not a museum . As Secretary of State for the Environment, Ridley opposed a low-cost housing development near his own property, earning him the title of NIMBY (‘Not In My Back Yard’)....... Col Mustard

9:22am Sat 22 Feb 14

Olly Cromwell says...

It would be totally ironic if our part-time MP actually had a large business interest in planning and development matters worth £3.1m.

The Parliamentary declaration of interests for poor Geoffrey reveals he is a partner in Salisbury Road Development LLP.

There is nothing quite like a good old Conservative MP taking full financial advantage of "a few years of unrestrained growth" whilst simultaneously telling the press he is most concerned about the bulldozers.
It would be totally ironic if our part-time MP actually had a large business interest in planning and development matters worth £3.1m. The Parliamentary declaration of interests for poor Geoffrey reveals he is a partner in Salisbury Road Development LLP. There is nothing quite like a good old Conservative MP taking full financial advantage of "a few years of unrestrained growth" whilst simultaneously telling the press he is most concerned about the bulldozers. Olly Cromwell

9:50pm Sat 22 Feb 14

Col Mustard says...

Sorry Olly it would not be ironic but typical of the lying thieving MP's that say one thing and do the opposite.

Here's todays shining example of the elected member for the Cotswolds.
http://www.mirror.co
.uk/news/uk-news/tor
y-lobbying-against-g
un-fee-3174558
Sorry Olly it would not be ironic but typical of the lying thieving MP's that say one thing and do the opposite. Here's todays shining example of the elected member for the Cotswolds. http://www.mirror.co .uk/news/uk-news/tor y-lobbying-against-g un-fee-3174558 Col Mustard

11:11am Mon 24 Feb 14

Alan Dickinson says...

Vested interests that are protected by being elected by lying to the voters.
We all have an oppurtunity coming up elections. If you are sick and tired of being patronised, lied to and seeing examples of blatant theft then you have an oppurtunity to change matters by voting for any party other than the Conservative ,Labour and Libdem party.

Have the Conservative ruling CDC saved the southern views of Cirencester by the approval of a 21st century "Gorbals" e.g the hideous mound called KingsMeadow... built on a hill so everyone can see it for miles !

There are numerous brownfield sites in Cirencester that could be redeveloped for housing , but with success governments refusing to change the VAT disincentive to build on greenfield sites developers will continue building on fields . To counter this the current feckless Conservative Government increased the incentive of building on greenfield sites by upping the VAT rate to 20%..
Where was that in the Tory manifesto ?
Vested interests that are protected by being elected by lying to the voters. We all have an oppurtunity coming up elections. If you are sick and tired of being patronised, lied to and seeing examples of blatant theft then you have an oppurtunity to change matters by voting for any party other than the Conservative ,Labour and Libdem party. Have the Conservative ruling CDC saved the southern views of Cirencester by the approval of a 21st century "Gorbals" e.g the hideous mound called KingsMeadow... built on a hill so everyone can see it for miles ! There are numerous brownfield sites in Cirencester that could be redeveloped for housing , but with success governments refusing to change the VAT disincentive to build on greenfield sites developers will continue building on fields . To counter this the current feckless Conservative Government increased the incentive of building on greenfield sites by upping the VAT rate to 20%.. Where was that in the Tory manifesto ? Alan Dickinson

5:19pm Mon 24 Feb 14

Susie Clark says...

I see that neither Crispin nor his mate Olly are answering the question I asked - what would they do? All Olly can do is continue his MP bashing as part of his own election campaign. Judging by letters of support in the Standard and his numerous appearances in the Cotswolds, Mr.Clifton-Brown doesn't really match Olly's description of a part-time MP - it's a catch phrase that suits Olly's campaign , but he's the only one using it. The recent headline in a national paper ."Lib Dems - a nasty party that stands for nothing " is certainly well exemplified here in the Cotswolds .
I see that neither Crispin nor his mate Olly are answering the question I asked - what would they do? All Olly can do is continue his MP bashing as part of his own election campaign. Judging by letters of support in the Standard and his numerous appearances in the Cotswolds, Mr.Clifton-Brown doesn't really match Olly's description of a part-time MP - it's a catch phrase that suits Olly's campaign , but he's the only one using it. The recent headline in a national paper ."Lib Dems - a nasty party that stands for nothing " is certainly well exemplified here in the Cotswolds . Susie Clark

8:47am Tue 25 Feb 14

drg40mg says...

I'm afraid Ms Clark so obviously doesn't understand the problem that her so called 'question' is meaningless twaddle. Let us be clear, an adopted local plan describes the wishes of the local council and, if approved, is underwritten by the Secretary of State. It therefore is a matter which any inspector must take into account at appeal and, if he or she wishes to overturn the local plan, must explain why.
Of course Tories don't like planning. The absence of a local plan and hence a forceful expression of local wishes is open season for developers. Even CDC, however, must see the irony in being so laissez faire that even a Tory led coalition recoils from their excesses.
I'm afraid Ms Clark so obviously doesn't understand the problem that her so called 'question' is meaningless twaddle. Let us be clear, an adopted local plan describes the wishes of the local council and, if approved, is underwritten by the Secretary of State. It therefore is a matter which any inspector must take into account at appeal and, if he or she wishes to overturn the local plan, must explain why. Of course Tories don't like planning. The absence of a local plan and hence a forceful expression of local wishes is open season for developers. Even CDC, however, must see the irony in being so laissez faire that even a Tory led coalition recoils from their excesses. drg40mg

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