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ANGER AS PLANNING TRANSPARENCY MOTION BLOCKED

March 3, 2019 6:22 PM

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Heather Kidd, Lib Dem Councillor for Chirbury and Worthen, has condemned the Tory Administration for block a motion that would have made planning decisions across the County more open and transparent.

Heather said "This was pure tribalism on the part of the ruling Conservative group. One of the biggest complaints voiced by residents at the moment is the secretive, inconsistent manner in which Shropshire Council deals with planning applications. People, Parish Council and Councillors alike are incensed that there is no effective way to have an input into the planning process

"My motion would have addressed these issues and helped heal the fractured relationship between parish Councils and the County

"It was seconded by Cllr David Vasmer and supported by members of all parties bar the ruling Conservatives. They didn't say, a thing. They offered no alternative view, just voted on block against the motion. They simply had no defence and just hid their embarrassment. It was like something from an authoritarian state".

Heathers motion to put to Shropshires full Council meeting yesterday Thursday (28th Feb)

End

For Further information contact Heather Kidd on 07980635518

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  1. Cllr Heather Kidd's motion:

This council instructs the chief executive to make the following changes to planning procedures to ensure that the council maintains best practice in decision-making, openness and transparency:

1) If the town/parish council and the local member both object or support an application, stating material planning considerations, the application should be automatically referred to the appropriate planning committee if it differs to the planning officers recommendation.

2) Call-ins by members should be formally recorded on the planning portal.

3) Where the town/parish council and local member disagree, officers must give five working days' notice to the local member before the application is considered by the chair and vice chair of the planning committee to allow comment. The member should receive the planning officer report at the same time.

4) Notes on that decision should be sent to the local member.

  1. THE REALITIES OF OUR PLANNING SYSTEM

Effectively some 98% plus of decisions on planning applications are taken by officers behind closed doors. Only a few, contentious, decisions are decided by the Planning Committee composed of some Shropshire Councilors .

Whether it actually goes to the Planning Committee or not, rests with the Chair and Vice Chair of this Committee. These requests are usually turned down and the decision whether to approve the decision is then taken by officers.

This system is unfair and lacks any transparency whatsoever.

Our parish councils and I have many strong representations for or against planning applications only to hear the decision has been taken behind closed doors without further reference to any of us. This has often lead to inconsistent and sometimes inexplicable decisions much to the fury of everyone concerned.