I have just got home from West Suffolk council after a full day at the development control committee. Townsend nursery was up first at 1000hrs.
I had an opportunity to speak as a ward member as well as a committee member so a couple of bites at the cherry. Planning is made up of many layers of policy, from National down to local and all planning applications are judged against this policy. This makes sense so there is a consistent approach and a fairness for applicants.
There are statutory organisations which planning authorities must consult. For example highways, education, fire and water authorities, in our case Anglia Water. They look at their specific areas of expertise and make recommendations. For example Anglia Water must comment on the capacity for providing water and taking sewage away. They are the experts and if they say there is sufficient capacity, in the absence of any other hard evidence their views carry weight. And they must deliver, but in planning terms a new application can’t be held responsible for fixing existing faults with the system. If the planning committee goes against this opinion it is likely that the application will go to appeal and succeed.
I argued twice that the pipes near the proposed development are not fit for purpose, in that they fail on a regular basis. There was a lot of support for this from the Town Council but ………. Anglian Water say there is capacity. I even argued that because they are a commercial company, responsible to shareholders, should so much weight be given to what they say. Hmmmm
Many arguments were put up against the application but eventually it was approved by a majority vote. I voted against it.