Sunday, 18 May 2008

"QUOTE OF THE WEEK"?


I must apologise for silence on the 'Strife' for almost 48 hours but urgent domestic affairs have had to take priority.
Was I the only one to pick-up on this quote from our new Chair of The Planning Committee in Friday's IOTG?
He was commenting publicly on CGP's China Gateway Application F/TH/08/0400 which will come under consideration in July and is reported as saying, " If The Environment Agency and Southern Water can satisfy us that the water supply is preserved, it would not be a reason to turn it down."
I was distinctly under the impression that for a member, let alone the Chair of Planning, to comment in any way about an application submitted to TDC automatically rules them out from taking part in the adjudication process on that particular application?
Has Cllr Gregory now effectively removed himself from the process? I do not blame him if he has,; 'poisoned chalice' seems appropriate given the real threat to Thanet's drinking water.
There are a number of reasons I can think of, why TDC should turn this application down, yet it seems that Cllr Gregory is saying otherwise.
The man or women on The Thanet Loop, is entitled to start to be concerned about the way this application is to be dealt with given the fact that TDC and KCC have formed East Kent Opportunities LLP (a business) that is about to employ a 'chief executive' on £70,000 to "make a return on investment for the LLPs investors".
So in addition to the new Chair of Planning making public comments about this application, they might also be interested to know that CGP seems to be employing Barry Coppock (ex Chair of TDC at the time when the marking of the map for Phase 1 land, included agricultural land in its 'designated area for development' within the TDC Plan) and that Steve Ladyman MP received a perfectly legitimate £25,000 political donation last year from Mr Ken Wills (CGP).

14 comments:

Ian J said...

Am I to undrstand that this person has already decided this issue? seems strange to me if that is the case.

Anonymous said...

Also all planning committee members, by convention, do not comment on a planning application in advance of the decision being made. The Chair of Planning most certainly should never be seen to favour or otherwise any applications. Committee members have to declare if they have any vested interest e.g. own the land, shares in a company with interests etc. Cllr. Gregory has now ruled himself out of any involvement with the planning of this development.

Anonymous said...

Indeed he has...anyone know if the CPRE has commented on this application? I know Kent Highway have?

Anonymous said...

What was the view of Kent Highways? As this is probably in the North Thanet costituency (or will be at the next election) does anyone know if Roger Gale has made any comment?

Cllr. Mike Harrison said...

It seems that Ken should have followed his own advice:-
lifted from Village Voice

Friday, 2 May 2008
Future posts

There are reasons why I shall be standing aside from some of the future comments on this and other posts. It does not mean that I do not have an opinion, just that I will not be in a position to express it.

I did have the option of closing down this blog, but I chose not to do so. In my opinion everyone has a right to express their POV. I will , however, not bring myself into conflict with the law of our country.

Please accept that I do not feel that I have been 'gagged'. I do understand that I may well have an obligation to 'Listen' rather than 'Lead'

Posted by Ken Gregory at Friday, May 02, 2008 1 comments Links to this post

Cllr. Mike Harrison said...

Or was it just a very clever way of avoiding involvement in a contentious issue ?

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Who knows? However, it was a breach of convention to pass comment on the planning issue before it is resolved.

Anonymous said...

I think the TDC procedure is established by precedent.

The member, together nowadays with any other member with whom he has declared conjunction at the hip, must take "Honour withdrawal" whilst the matter is discussed and voted on.

The TDC procedure for "Honour withdrawal" is that the members place themselves beyond sight and earshot of the meeting.

Such honourably withdrawn members retire to a small padded room equipped with a crystal ball. From this they divine what went on at the meeting in their absence.

They are then qualified, by their own dubious standards, to give evidence of what went on in their absence as purported witnesses of fact in the High Court.

In the first degree of a Thanet Lodge

Apprentice morons learn every dodge.

And when they progress to master moron

Getting away with it they are sure on.

From there to membership of TDC

To laugh their pinny off at you and me.

James Maskell said...

I understand the national rules were amended to avoid incidents like one a while back where a number of Councillors had to leave a meeting because they had commented publicly meaning they couldnt vote (might have been Westwood). Perhaps someone can find the specific wording regarding the rules?

I dont see anything wrong with public comment on it and I fail to understand why Councillors should be barred from voting just because they have made a comment on the issue.

Cllr Gregory's comment could be interpreted as being a comment on what he sees the process as being. The process would be easier if the developers played ball with the Council, but it doesnt mean that Cllr Gregory is saying "do what we want and we'll shove you through the committee without question". The comment is hardly cause to remove his vote.

Its a complete farce, that even Labour has complained about in the past.

Bertie Biggles said...

We are talking here about the newly appointed Chair of Planning, James. Is it really wise for him to even mention what are presently quite contentious issues concerning this application. Sources tell me that CGP opted for the Klargester (cheaper option)of linked or individual septic tanks outflowing onto the water catchment area rather than a foul mains sewerage system from Southern Water removing all foul water from the site. The Environmental Agency have notified TDC and CGP that it will oppose any Klargester solution and insist on main sewerage. For Chair of Planning to even comment at this satge would seem foolish?

Ken Gregory said...

I would point out bertie that the 'new chair of planning' has done the job before. My comments were in line with the local government code of conduct. They related to how much 'weight' the council should give to comments on any planning application.

It would be wrong to allow anyone, (be it applicant or objector) to gain false hope or otherwise, from comments made in the 'press'.

Fairness has been the principle behind Thanets planning committee since I have been on it, (1995 to date). Unfortunately with planning, most of the times there are two sides. in the final result, one side will normally be really annoyed.( Though, please believe, I feel both sides will have had a fair hearing)

Bertie Biggles said...

Ken, thank you for that comment. I am just concerned that any comment is unwise even if it explains what the process might be; a "no comment at this stage" response would be much safer perhaps, but you are the experienced person in this matter.
I am sure that the Planning Committee views all applications presented before it with a dispassionate and unbiased view. Given Mr Wills' response in the IOTG today, I am concerned that an Environmental Agency position regarding safeguarding Thanet's drinking water can be dismissed so out of hand by the developer making an application on grounds of cost. It would be improper for you to comment on this matter but I trust that TDC planning has more regard for the security of our drinking water than CGP appears to have. Thanet people rely on its local government to protect and promote the interests of the community as a whole and this trust can of course lead to conflict of interests.

Ken Gregory said...

Bertie, the planning committee will rely heavily on both Southern Water and the Enviornment Agency for their expertise, and will make a decision based upon their responses (they are , after all, the acknowledged experts)

Bertie Biggles said...

The Environmental Agency has been unequivocal on the requirement for mains sewerage, Ken, in its letter of 2nd May and I await the Planning outcome after due consideration and evaluation of the conflicting issues.