Thursday, 3 July 2008

THE STRANGE WORLD OF TDC PLANNING DEPARTMENT

Bertie brings you tonight the 'Tale of Two Barns' and wonders what Mr Brian White, Head of Development Services at TDC is up to.

First of all, you should be aware that these two barns are located in the midst of CGPs China Cateway Plans for Phases, 1,2 and 3 and the whole area surrounding them is proposed to be a huge Industrial Estate of which Mr Brian White at TDC was clearly aware of in March 2007.

Let's deal with the modest 12m long barn , to replace an old structure of the same size, at Rose Farm which, if CGP gets its way, will have car parking and industrial sheds all round it shortly and no farm land (Mr Struan Robertson flogged off his farmland to CGP in March 2007 you see).

Mr Struan Robertson applied on 14th May 2008, to turn a battered old Dutch barn into a modern enclosed barn with entrance sufficiently large to have tractors be stored in. Why he should want to do this at this stage remains a mystery but Brian White, turned down this barn application with the words: " The applicant has failed to demonstrate that the proposed development is necessary to agriculture ........ ( Go and look at F/TH/08/0559).

We now move to the other 'barn' at the back of Alland Grange Farm, which is currently under construction. Like the barn at Rose Farm, it too will be surrounded by industrial units of CGP's Gateway and in fact does not seem to feature in CGP's Phase 1 Plans ( i.e. it will be demolished in due course). An application was made for this structure on 11 Jan 2007 (see F/TH/07/0126) by, you have it, Mr Struan Robertson. Its very big as the plans below show, being 50m long.



Now comes the interesting bit. CGP bought an awful lot of Mr Struan Robertson's farm land in March 2007, reputedly for a sum in excess of £5,000,000 (with more to come if planning consent is granted for Gateway). CGP then took over the application which was then ammended on 6 Mar 2007. Now, this is the odd bit of reasoning; Mr Brian White approved this application on 26 March 2007 (very quickly it would seem) despite presumably knowing at this stage that CGP had a Gateway project 'afoot' and that CGP were not in the agricultural business and that as in the more recent Rose Farm 'barn' application, there was shortly to be no need whatsoever for an agricultural barn to store grain; you cannot grow wheat in large quantities on an industrial estate!
So what, you might ask? Let me explain; a major construction project needs some materials to be pre-located out of the elements and a very large grains store fits the purpose admirably. (Oh, of course it will need a further application for 'change of use' but I am sure Mr Brian White will oblige in due course).
So Mr White turns down the Rose Farm' barn' in 2008, because he assumes it will have no agricultural purpose when surrounded by warehouses and car-parks of CGP but none the less approved a 'grain storage' barn for CGP in 2007, knowing that it would shortly have no grain going into it.
What a strange world TDC Planning moves in. The worrying thing for us to consider is that CGP's application for Gateway is outside The Thanet Plan and therefore any assumptions dear Mr White has made as a Council Officer, seem to have ignored the fact that our TDC Councillors our meant to make decisions concerning Planning Applications like 'Gateway' and of course may yet turn it down. In that case, Mr Struan Robertson's barn at Rose Farm should have been approved on the basis that agricultural use is presently on-going.
As I prepare to climb the stairs for a well earned rest, the thought crosses my mind that "What tangled webs we weave...........................". Good night.

17 comments:

Matt B said...

I too have some concerns over the handling of planning applications in Thanet. I feel a volley of FOI requests coming on.

Anonymous said...

Me too! Especially when the application is lodged by a councillor.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I see the barn that was 'refused' is now being built. But perhaps that is because it did not need planning consent as it was an agricultural building!!

Never believe the chatter, just the facts.

Anonymous said...

I think cllrs should do what we elected them to do.. do what they think is best. My Aunt Mertal always told me just to do my best.

Anonymous said...

Why then has the farmer had several applications in to build various barns? Surely after the first one went in in 2007 he would have realised he didn't permission? I'm quite sure, rather than take the fee for the application, someone at TDC would have said to him (assuming what you say is true and I doubt it is) 'Mr. Robertson, you don't need permission. Please don't keep sending in these forms.'

Anonymous said...

The barn did need building regs approval, but if for agricultural use, no actual planning consent

Bertie Biggles said...

The (CGP) Barn had consent and is being built to 'store grain';the Rose Farm improvement /rebuild of a shambling dutch barn was refused, 13.05. Agricultural buildings are subject to planning consent and go and look ar F/TH/07/0126 for details.

Anonymous said...

Bertie the Labour Party supporter pretending to be a Tory...

Anonymous said...

To my certain knowledge Bertie is a paid up member of the Tory Party but we don't hold that against him!!

Anonymous said...

He might be paid up, but that means nothing when he works against the Tories with Labour Party members like Tony.

I could be a paid up member of the Taleban and still be working for George Bush

TL

Bertie Biggles said...

What on earth are you on about TL of 21.45? Which Tony are you referring to and how am I working against the Tories?
If I am unhappy with the Tory Leadership of TDC, that doesn't mean I am working against the Tories. We have an excellent Tory MP in Roger Gale in Thanet North and we have many excellent Tories representing their wards in TDC and at KCC. We also have excellent Labour and Independent Councillors. If I am not a person who adheres to the misguided principle of 'My Party right or wrong', then I am sorry that I am guilty as charged by you.

Anonymous said...

We have two independents. McCastree Votes with the blues, and Tom King votes with Labour. You call that excellent?

You think you know things, but having inside information I know you know very little

Anonymous said...

Audrey Pickering is an Independent TDC councillor, so that's three, not two. Three is the number required to get a representative on the Planning Committee. That representative is McCastree, ex-Labour, votes with Tories. That's all bases covered, then.

Anonymous said...

09.24, you obviously know sod all!

Anonymous said...

Bertie is a fellow like several other of us tories, dont see the leadership of TDC acting in exemplary way and we keep away from Cons dos until people with more intregity are running the cabinet of TDC if that is ever possible, we live in hope ....
Poor old Roger and Laura dont seem to have a hope of influencing their ways either

Anonymous said...

From my experience "poor old Roger" is part of the problem!

Anonymous said...

what doesnt keep his councillors in order and turns a blind eye to their exploits?