PLANNING: There WAS no change in the law!

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The Long Sutton Parish Council was astonished to learn of the unbelievable happenings during the discussions between the South Holland District Council planning members and the planning officers at a planning committee meeting on February 11.

The parish council submitted two separate emails raising objections to the proposed amendment to Condition 3 of the original permission for Sutton Park (formerly the Butterfly Park).

He gamely used his vote to approve the amendment “due to a change in legislation” despite him and his officers admitting that there had been no change

The reason for the proposed amendment to Condition 3 from the developer was “Due to a change in legislation”.

The officers’ report clearly stated that there had been an error when the application for the amendment was first considered and subsequently approved by the planning committee.

It was only due to us seeking legal redress that after taking legal advice the planning officers admitted this error and referred the application back to the committee.

The approval of the Sutton Park development by South Holland District Council was against public opinion and the residents of Long Sutton do not want this development.

Sutton Park was approved despite being outside of the planning boundary due to the exceptionally high quality specifications.

Condition 3 of the original application was a major factor in the approval because it would ensure the high specifications were met and was the excuse to allow the development and departure from the 2006 Local Plan.

This latest application was a way to water down this condition and allow the developer to have the specifications for the development inspected by “an independent assessor” and under building regulations instead of being required to obtain a certificate issued by a Code for Sustainable Homes Licenced Assessor.

The supporting documents from the developer quoted a proposal from the communities minister.

The council requested a copy of the legislation that would support the developer’s statement on the application form that there had been a change in the law...

None was forthcoming. Why?

Because there has been no change in the law.

This point was valiantly argued by Long Sutton ward member Coun David Wilkinson.

He stated that the committee could not vote on a change of the law when there had not been any change.

The reply from the planning officer was “Why not? You have done it loads of times before.” The officer then quantified this answer by giving examples of when this had happened!

After hearing this Long Sutton ward member Coun Andy Tennant then proposed that the amendment be approved despite there being no change in the law.

His reason? “Because it had been approved before and he had not heard any objections to the amendment”.

He had clearly not read the council’s objections in the newspaper or attended any council meetings. If he had he would know how his electors feel about the development.

It was obvious he had not read any of the supporting documentation or objections raised on the website.

However, his proposal was seconded and a 7/7 vote was achieved despite all of the committee members being fully aware that there had been NO CHANGE IN LEGISLATION.

This did not deter the committee chairman Coun Gammba-Jones.

He gamely used his vote to approve the amendment “due to a change in legislation” despite him and his officers admitting that there had been no change but there might be!

There were noises that they did not wish to hold up the development. There will be no hold up. All that happened was the developer got his conditions weakened to enable him to attract a buyer for the land he now has for sale and leaving the infrastructure of Long Sutton creaking due to the strain imposed on them by the powers-that-be at South Holland District Council.

The parish council has made an official complaint to the district council and ombudsman. We will also seek a judicial review.

We will on behalf of our parishioners continue to fight on their behalf.

Long Sutton Parish Council