Fringe Box



Letter: I Utterly Reject John Redpath’s Charge

Published on: 4 Sep, 2023
Updated on: 4 Sep, 2023

Model of the North Street development exhibited by the developers and refused by GBC’s Planning Committee in January

From: Liz Hogger

former Lib Dem councillor for Effingham

In response to: Is This the Way We Want Councillors To Be Influenced?

I utterly reject the imputation in John Redpath’s letter that I, and other Lib Dem councillors on the Planning Committee at the time, were in any way influenced by Mr Horsley’s email.

All members of the Planning Committee are thoroughly used to receiving lobbying emails before committee meetings; I would read them to see if there were any relevant planning policy arguments, and ignore any emotional or political points being made.

Personally, I was generally in favour of the principle of the North Street redevelopment. However, the devil was in the detail. The reasons why I actually proposed the refusal related to three main detailed issues which were not made clear during the pre-application presentations from the developer.

First, both the County Highways Authority and the bus operators objected to the bus station proposals. We could not ignore strong objections from those responsible for running our bus services.

Second, the buildings were too high and bulky, and Historic England (and local amenity groups) remained unhappy, particularly about the height of the marker building, because of harm to the Conservation Areas and heritage buildings.

Finally, the proposal included a guarantee of just 20 affordable (shared ownership) homes, and the developer was not even prepared to review the financial viability in the medium term of development to see if more affordable homes could be included on-site.

Sadly, many will continue to believe the planning decision was politically motivated. It wasn’t, as far as the Lib Dems were concerned. It would have been most unethical to treat such an important application in that way.

Having now retired from the borough council, I shall watch with interest to see if the new planning application manages to overcome the serious concerns that led to the initial refusal.

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Responses to Letter: I Utterly Reject John Redpath’s Charge

  1. Alex Winter Reply

    September 4, 2023 at 9:21 pm

    Why didn’t Robin Horsley stand for election? He heckles a lot from the sidelines but yet to see if he would do a better job.

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