Sunday, 9 May 2010

Council offer to listen to residents

Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh has offered to listen to residents about the vexed issue of planning decisions, many of which have sparked controversy in recent months and contributed to the defeat of Shaun Bailey at the General Election with residents groups actively organising against him.

The Brackenbury Residents Association, a normally mild mannered well-to-do marmalade making residents group has been foremost in the fight against Council decisions to award large parts of their neighbourhood to property developers. In fact the planning inquiry on the Goldhawk Block is due to start within weeks at the Town Hall, thanks to the intervention of the now re-elected Andy Slaughter MP

Cllr Greenhalgh has written to Richard Winterton, the residents associations' architect to report that:
'1- Funding has now been put in place to support setting up the design review panel, an enhanced programme of planning forums, and staffing to deal with this and improving the website. A timetable of meetings for potential schemes is being prepared - for the panel and the forums.
'2- Officers are looking at the planning website with a view to making it more user friendly and work is in hand to include further information.
'3- Planning briefs will be developed on a site by site basis, based on policies and standards of the statutory development plan. I do not envisage a process for public involvement in the preparation of development briefs.'
So it looks like some lessons may have been learned after all. Residents say they are keeping "a close eye" on things to see how the Council proceeds but the launch of a design review panel does on the face of it look like a positive step forward. So credit to the Council for listening - a good start to the new administration.

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