Planning is a ‘big learning curve’

New district councillor and South Holland Planning Committee member Harry Drury.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
New district councillor and South Holland Planning Committee member Harry Drury. Photo by Tim Wilson.

Five of South Holland’s new district councillors will get their first taste of public service tomorrow, just four weeks after taking office.

Harry Drury, Laura Eldridge, Jo Reynolds, Jack Tyrrell and Peter Williams are all due to attend their first meeting as members of the council’s planning committee.

Laura Eldridge and Jack Tyrrell.

Laura Eldridge and Jack Tyrrell.

All five councillors went to a training session about their new roles, with extra guidance to come from planning officers and more experienced committee members at the meeting.

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, chairman of the planning committee, said: “I can understand how they will be feeling when they listen to their first report.

“It’s a great big learning curve for them, so my efforts will be towards helping to bring them on and to try to ensure that the committee members understand what they are being told.

“There are lots of stereotypes that appear on the TV where the chairman of a planning committee says ‘this is going to happen and this is the way things will be.’

Jo Reynolds.

Jo Reynolds.

“But my role is to ensure that we make sound decisions based on the right policy and the right understanding of the planning process.”

One of the plans to be considered tomorrow is for a new dog boarding kennels in Surfleet.

A couple behind the plans want to knock down a number of buildings outside their home and build a new kennels unit for up to ten dogs.

Onjectors living nearby claim their lives would be affected by dogs barking and that the site is too close to both the A152 and south Lincolnshire Crematorium.

Pete Williams.

Pete Williams.

But a report prepared for the meeting said: “The property has no near neighbours, with the nearest (homes) some 150 to 200 metres to the north and west (of the site).

“Given the nature of the proposed use and the fact the application site is previously developed land, set apart from the (house itself), it is considered to be an appropriate use for a rural location.”

Coun Gambba-Jones has been planning committee chairman for at least ten years, a period that has included controversial plans to build almost 90 eco-homes at the former Long Sutton Butterfly and Wildlife Park and a 52-acre solar energy plant in Sutton St James.

“You can never be sure about a planning meeting because you can go into an area of discussion or debate where someone asks a question you never thought of before,” Coun Gambba-Jones said.

“Every application is considered on its merits and given sufficient discussion so that the committee can be sure it has made the right decision.”