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Letter: Planning in Wonderland

Published on: 7 Nov, 2021
Updated on: 7 Nov, 2021

From: Harry Eve

I suggest that readers watch the webcast of the planning committee meeting that took place on November 3 and form their own opinions but, to me, planning decisions become “Curiouser and curiouser”.

It seems that councillors cannot represent the cogent objections of their residents or they will be personally responsible for reductions in the care budget (rather than the Conservative Party). “Off with their heads!” In any case, objections to a site in the Horsleys will be regarded as political despite the Local Plan being based, knowingly, on unsound evidence.

Evidence in the form of photographs submitted by residents is, apparently, inadmissible. Any experience-based objections are mere assertions that must be ignored while the opinions of “Statutory Authorities” sitting in remote offices count as irrefutable evidence. Surrey Highways have certainly received the message that they must enable development regardless.

Apparently, it is entirely acceptable for residents who own the verges of a delightful rural lane to have their land confiscated for road-widening to enable a developer to profit from building on a greenfield site (despite Boris Johnson’s recent statement that building on greenfield would cease – clearly delivered with a nudge and a wink).

Councillors must only consider the application before them. A future application for the rest of the Local Plan site, from a different developer, must be ignored. Except, that is, when it suits Planning Officers who said that a pedestrian access objection would be resolved by the same potential future application. At this point, I thought I was dreaming but there was worse to come.

In response to a question about the lack of bus services, we were given a few incomplete details about a proposed new service that requires you to have a suitable mobile phone and outvoted competing passengers waiting elsewhere. If you are lucky a bus will arrive sometime from somewhere and may take you somewhere else on the way to your final destination. No name for the service was given but I suggest that on the front it should state “Magical Mystery Tour”, on the side – “BonkersBus” and on the rear “We’re all mad here”.

I look forward to the next chapter.

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