Fringe Box



Letter: I Repeat, Councillors Can Speak Freely on Planning Applications

Published on: 26 Apr, 2016
Updated on: 27 Apr, 2016

planning permission 200Gordon Bridger

Hon Alderman and former Mayor of Guildford

I am baffled by Cllr Reeves refusal to comment on the Solum application because she might be accused of predetermination. For several years councillors have been misled by some officers telling them they must not comment on applications.

I have gone to the trouble of producing a report showing that they had been misled for ages and were perfectly within their rights to comment on any aspect of a planning application before it came to committee. However, at the Planning Committee meeting there are policies and requirements to which councillors have to adhere.

emails letterSince I recognised that my report, despite being based on government advice, might not have convinced some councillors, I submitted it to Planning England, an official body who approved it as accurate and made it quite clear that councillors would not “be liable to prosecution”.

But, Cllr Reeves’ stance just takes us back to the system used by bureaucrats to frighten councillors.

I showed my report to the leader of the council, Paul Spooner, who supported it and agreed I should circulate it to all councillors – which I did.

Maybe some did not see it or read it. I have copies if they would like one – free on demand.

As for the Solum development, this is by far the worst development proposal I have seen in Guildford in the last 50 years. I am sure our planners will reject, it is so awful. If they do recommend approval one would ask why we bother to have a planning department.

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