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Letter: Refusing Lib Dem Should Have Spoken to Her Executive Colleagues

Published on: 17 Jan, 2023
Updated on: 17 Jan, 2023

From: Joss Bigmore

deputy leader of GBC and a R4GV borough councillor for Christchurch

See: I Am Horrified – the Deputy Leader Wants Developer to Appeal Against His Own Council

It’s a shame Cllr Liz Hogger before voting to refuse the planning application for North Street didn’t talk to her fellow Lib Dem Executive councillors who promoted this scheme with its myriad of public benefits, despite the risk to the quantum of affordable housing, over the past three years

It’s also an incredibly brave or reckless call to ignore the clear advice of a barrister that told the committee the scheme was fully compliant with the council’s affordable housing policy: the council’s independent viability consultant demonstrated no evidence that this scheme was viable, so no affordable component was necessary.

The dysfunctional nature of the Liberal Democrat group has cost GBC taxpayers £860k promoting this scheme with more to come if the appellant appeals.

Can we afford the Liberal Democrats? I say no we can’t.

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Responses to Letter: Refusing Lib Dem Should Have Spoken to Her Executive Colleagues

  1. Liz Hogger Reply

    January 17, 2023 at 3:51 pm

    As a member of the Planning Committee, I make my decision on applications at the meeting, having read the officer report, heard the officer’s presentation, listened to the speakers and listened to other committee members. What I don’t do is discuss how I should vote in advance with Executive members or anyone else. That’s the way planning is meant to work.

    As for planning reasons for refusal, officers advise but members make up their own minds having listened to the advice.

    I am also surprised by Cllr Bigmore’s final point about the cost to GBC taxpayers. I was under the impression the North Street application was from the developer St Edwards (part of the Berkeley Group), not the borough council.

    It would of course be quite wrong for taxpayers to pay for the promotion of a development scheme put forward by a major house builder, so maybe this was just a slip of the finger.

    Liz Hogger is the Lib Dem borough councillor for Effingham

  2. Maddy Redpath Reply

    January 18, 2023 at 9:51 am

    Cllr Hogger has completely missed the point. Her responsibilities as a councillor and as a member of the Lib Dems, who are running GBC, extend further than just being a Planning Committee member. She is meant to represent her residents by creating policy and encouraging developers to deliver a scheme that is correct for this administration.

    Unfortunately, the Liberal Democrats decided to not contribute to the scheme or work with the developer even though they were given ample opportunity. To this day, I still don’t know what the Lib Dem’s planning policy is.

    Like many of her senior Liberal Democrat colleagues, Cllr Hogger spent so long in the opposition they have no idea what leadership means. Influencing schemes before the planning committee and making difficult decisions.

    They should not throw toys out of the pram at the last minute because they didn’t get what they wanted.

    After Howard of Effingham, Debenhams and now North Street, I am really struggling to see how they can continue to lead the council any longer.

    Maddy Redpath is a R4GV councillor for Holy Trinity

    • George Potter Reply

      January 21, 2023 at 12:15 pm

      This is the second or third time Cllr Redpath has repeated this, and it is untrue.

      Several Liberal Democrat councillors raised concerns about affordable housing throughout the process. I should know because I was one of them, and Cllr Redpath must know that what she is saying isn’t true given that she was at one of the meetings where I raised that very concern.

      George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham

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