Monday, March 28, 2011

Will the HDC Planning Department accede to political demands?

The titchy cinema project will eventually hit the Planning Department. As the plans presented by Turnstone Estates are at significant variance to those laid out in the development brief will planning come under pressure from other parts of the District and Town Councils to get this development through. The District Council is going to make some money from selling the land to Turnstone Estates. One estimate has the amount at £2 million. I feel the Planning Officer who turns this development down will not be the best person around. Especially as many St Neots Councillors have staked so much on the outcome.

This is the problem. Whilst it is unethical and wrong for the rest of the Council to influence the decision of the Planning Officer there is nothing to stop words being said passing in corridors. Of course the other way is to find a Planning Officer that doesn't need to be leant on.

Having a go at the Planning Officer is only shooting the messenger. Planning were very insistent over the development brief. A cinema was only one idea and not the only idea. It was the Cabinet who decided on a cinema project not Planning.

But it would be very funny if the District Council cabinet wants a cinema and the Planning department turns it down.

I've said all along this is the wrong place for the cinema. Much better to put this scheme on the East of St Neots development rather than squeeze this into a small site.

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