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.