Thursday, February 9, 2012

Is this fair?

When the cinema planning application came up for decision on 19th December 2011, those opposed were given three minutes to outline their objections to the Development Management Panel (DMP). Supporters were also given three minutes. Seems fair! What has come to light is Turnstone Estates had a much larger bite of the cherry when it came to briefing members of the DMP.

In a letter sent to Barbara Boddington, Turnstone Estates said the following:
Therefore Turnstone Estates gave a full briefing to the Development Management Panel on the planning application. Longer than the 3 minutes available to objectors at the meeting.

HDC owns part of the land and leased it to Turnstone Estates. The other part is owned by St Neots Town Council and has also been leased to Turnstone. HDC decides the planning application. All very cosy but there is no way round this. Someone has to give planning permission.

Whilst it is perfectly legal for officers to arrange a "Briefing" of this type, it does smack of pushing the planning application when it is already recommended for approval.

What about the letter from Turnstone Estates? They know they are lobbying by sending this letter and that it should be passed on to the Planning Department. All this seems stacked in favour of the applicant. Normally I'm for the applicant. But not when it pertains to Public Land.

If the offer of a private briefing was allowed to take place then surely those opposed should have had the right to a rebuttal.

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