Why we may soon be needing a TAFF to look at TAFFs!

22 Dec

Our Beloved Leader, Councillor Diviani, is in yesterday’s Sidmouth Herald attempting to justify the view of the Chief Executive of the EDDC that Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s Task and Finish Forum should not be allowed to discuss the influence of the East Devon Business Forum on planning policy.  He reiterates what was in a recent press release from EDDC last week, that “the TAFF is not designed to look at allegations that the EDBF might have had an undue or improper influence over employment land allocation in the Local Plan.  Any allegation is a matter for an independent planning inspector, who will examine the proposals in public next year“.

The Plannning Inspector’s job is NOT to look into allegations of undue or improper influence over any aspect of the Local Plan – that is the job of the Loca Authority BEFORE  it submits its Local Plan to the Planning Inspectorate.

This is borne out by a posting on an influential planning blog site, Decisions, Decisions hosted by a planning expert, Andrew Lainton.  He points out that in the Planning Inspectorate’s Examining Document [prepared to guide Local Authorities through the Local Plan submission process] para 7 says

Local Planning Authoritiess should rigorously assess the DPD [Draft Planning Document] before it is published under Regulation 27 [i.e. before it is submitted to the Planning Inspector] to ensure that it is a plan which they think is sound. The document published should be the document they intend to submit under Regulation 30 to the Inspectorate. The 2004 Act specifically provides that a LPA must not submit the DPD unless it considers the document is ready for examination. Changes after submission by the LPA should be unnecessary and may be disregarded by the Inspector unless there are exceptional reasons that justify them.

Note the phrase “rigorously assess”.  It is up to the Local Authority to do all its homework BEFORE the Planning Inspector gets the Local Plan document as the Planning Inspector does not expect it to be in a form that needs changing.  This homework includes dealing with HOW policy was formulated, WHO formulated it, WHY it was formulated and whether it is the BEST evidence that could be presented.

If  a Local Planning Authority has ANY doubt whatsoever about such a process and its effect on the Local Plan it should NOT submit the document.

The public (and some councillors) have expressed grave and serious doubt about the draft Local Plan.  The TAFF was put together because of that doubt.  It should be allowed (and, indeed, encouraged) to do its work BEFORE any Local Plan is submitted to the Planning Inspector to ensure that the draft which is presented is completely sound.

If this TAFF is not allowed to do its work we have to ask the question:  WHY?  And what do we need for that?

A TAFF on the influence of the Chief Executive and the Leader on TAFFs!

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2 Responses to “Why we may soon be needing a TAFF to look at TAFFs!”

  1. Not A Developer December 22, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Well said. Do these people really think we don’t know what they are up to? Well they will when they are standing against independent and UKIP candidates next time round.

    • Grumpy G December 23, 2012 at 11:18 am #

      I believe that underneath all the soothing words that Diviani has said that he has an agenda, but I cannot yet work out why. I have an good idea but I would not place it in the public arena, not yet anyway. I also have grave concerns that our Chief Executive is not up to the job: he is supposed to be totally independent, but judging by his frequent ‘ comments ‘ both at meetings, and to the general public, I feel that he is somehow being led along by our leader. As Not a Developer rightly says, that come the next elections all of these Councillors who are being whipped into line and do not have the decency, or the guts, to stand up and be counted will be defeated: they were elected to carry out the wishes of the electorate, not of those politically in charge; exactly the same applies to our worse than useless MP. I have already written to him to say that I will not be voting for him at the next election, and if everyone else does the same he may well decide to carry out our wishes, and not those of his political master. Unfortunately by the time of the next election much irreversable damage could already have been done.

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