Whitewash and Hogwash – the continuing story

12 Dec

At the start of the Task and Finish Forum on the relationship between EDDC and EDBF, the Chief Executive read out a statement that it was his advice that the TAFF could not discuss planning policy.  He said that the reason for this was that only the Development Management Committee could discuss individual planning applications and any subsequent appeals and only the Planning Inspectorate could now deal with any  planning matters relating to the Local Plan.  Councillor Troman, chairman of the TAFF, said that he had no alternative but to follow the legal advice given to him by the Chief Executive.

This therefore stuck a mortal blow to the TAFF before it had even started since this is the main concern of East Devon residents who have followed this story from its inception.  There was absolute shock from the 50 or so members of the public who witnessed this.

If one puts the words “Overview and Scrutiny Committee” and “planning policy” into Google, you will see that there are a number of local authorities doing precisely what the Chief Executive of EDDC has said that EDDC cannot do – namely where an Overview and Scrutiny Committee is discussing planning policy, in one case there was even a TAFF doing this.  Indeed, some Development Management Committees also have a Development Management Scrutiny Committee where members of the one are not allowed to be members of the other!

I telephoned the Planning Inspectorate and asked them if they dealt with planning policy matters  as part of the Local Plan submission.  The spokesperson was absolutely adamant that they did not.  All they could do was react to numbers in a Local Plan submitted to them.  People who had concerns about how these numbers had been put together would need to respond to the current consultation and refer to this and give their reasons why they believed that the numbers were wrong.  See above for details on how to do this.  You have until mid-January to make your submissions.

So, we are left with an interesting situation.  The Chief Executive says that the EDDC Overview and Scrutiny Committee, and its TAFF, cannot discuss planning policy but it is unclear upon what he bases this advice since there are local authorities where this is being done.

Postings on the nitty-gritty of the TAFF meeting will follow soon, including some wonderful quotes from our Chief Executive and Mr Nigel Harrison, Economic Development Officer and Honorary Secretary of the East Devon Business Forum.

East Devon has a lot to feel sorry about.


One Response to “Whitewash and Hogwash – the continuing story”

  1. Mike Temple aka John Betjeman above December 12, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    Are there grounds here for a formal complaint against CEO Mark Williams for misleading the committee when he claimed that only the Inspectorate could deal with planning matters relating to the Local Plan and that therefore the committee could not discuss any planning issues, i.e. the very area where there is such widespread public concern over the Business Forum’s role?

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