How do you get planning permission for something the council normally opposes if you live in a Tory controlled District ? Be a Tory Councillor ?

I was told some very interesting information by someone the other day. A councillor in a Tory run council told me that in a ward, a number of applications to build houses on land the council refers to as "backfill", have been rejected because the council has a policy of normally turning down "backfill" applications. However, in this councillors ward a backfill application has been allowed, completely contrary to the council's stated policy.

I personally gained a better understanding of why this application, which is against the council's policy, might have been allowed when I leanrt that the application was made by a senior Tory councillor from another ward (not the councillor whose ward it was).

Ah, you might say, this means a precedent has been set and that future applications will now be judged fairly against this councillor's own application. But no, that is not the case. Subsequent applications for "backfill" have since been rejected.

This is odd in itself because the latest Policy Planning Guidance states that Councils should not block backfill apllications. So in this case it appears that the council are only applying the letter of the law correctly to "certain" applicants.

So does this council have one rule for Tory Councillor's applications and one rule for everyone else.

You cannot blame the Tory Councilllor concerned. It appears he, like everyone else has tried to get planning permission for something that is normally rejected (although should be accepted). It is just, rather strangely to my mind, that in his case the council has done the right thing whilst in virtually everyone elses case they do not.

Don't be fooled by the Mr Cameron. At a local level, the Tories never change their spots.

Update : For Iain Dale's benefit (see comments) the Council is Broadland District Council, the application and decision by the council is HERE and the Councillor, who himself has done absolutely nothing wrong (I am suggesting the Tory run council are using double standards and are in the wrong), is Cllr S Clancy (the applicant).

Update 2 : Iain claims I am accusing the planning officer. Clearly Iain I am not because the decision made by the planning officer is only a recomendation, the Council makes the decision. And if it was recommended for acceptance, then the officer was correct because under the latest Planning Guidance from government, the application should have been accepted. I
Hopefully Iain Dale will now apologise.


Iain Dale said...

I might take this more seriously if you were prepared either to name the council and the councillor concerned. But, heh, let's just smear the whole Tory Party.

Cheltenham Robin said...

I hope you're going to put it on a leaflet and stuff it through some letterboxes.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Iain, I am happy to let you know via e-mail provately, but I do not want to betray publicly the councillor who ahve me this information.

Would you like to e-mail me and I will give you the deatails in full ?

Norfolk Blogger said...

Now Iain, the full details are there. Who's now doing the smearing ?

(fx tumbleweed rolls by as we await Iain's response ....)

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

Do LibDem councils never do anything of this nature, Nich?

Iain Dale said...

"he has done absolutely nothing wrong". "you cannot blame the councillor concerned"

Any you expect ME to apologise?!!

I assume this decision was taken by the council on the recommendation of the relevant planning officer. By implication you are accusing him of political favouritism. Perhaps you don't know all the details of this case, any more than I do.

Norfolk Blogger said...

All planning decisions should be non political. there should be no political whipping on planning committees. What I am saying is that the Council should not be making quirky or odd decisions in this way because the applicant is a Tory. There rules should be seen to be consistent, and in my view, and if you check against other apllications, there is a lack of consistency.

If a Lib Dem council was laiing poltical decisions in planning, I would condemn them without hesitation and would not do what Iain Dale did which is to accuse me of unfounded smears. I had the information, I didn't want to print it all to actually save on some potential for embarressment for the Tory concenred because, and I need to stress this, he has done nothing wrong.

The lastest PPG from the government says he SHOULD have been given permission. But why are so many others turned down ?

Norfolk Blogger said...

I have clearly said that the decsions was right, so how could the planning officer be to blame Iain. The questions is why does the council not do this form numerous other applications ? perhaps in this case the planning officer is a good one. But that is no defence for the council as an organisation.

Iain Dale said...

Nich, are you saying that this is the ONLY decision made in favour of someone who wants to build a house? I suspect it is not. If you have a serious complaint I suggest you direct it to the appropriate authorities.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I know that this decision goes against other decisions made in the last few weeks in the same ward.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I know that this decision goes against other decisions made in the last few weeks in the same ward.