Monday, July 13, 2009

Planning Ahead

The planning committee meets this coming Wednesday evening and one of the items on the agenda is a contentious one, involving an application for structural changes to 25 Streete Court in Westgate.

The residents have approached Cllr King and asked if he would speak on their behalf and the applicant, another resident, has approached me and asked the same.

Many people and perhaps the majority of the local population, don't realise that they can ask their local councillors to represent them in such circumstances and frequently it's a sensible idea.

Invariably and when it comes to emotive subjects, such as planning applications, residents may often squander their three minute speaking opportunity with objections that are not material to the planning process, which is governed by a strict framework of rules and regulations. Too strict many might say.

Taking a step back and giving your arguments to your local councillor is one way of ensuring that the three minutes is argued to best effect and doesn't become a litany of complaints rather than a series of valid objections.

I imagine, that I may appear in this week's local paper as taking sides on a hot topic but the reality of the matter is that it's up to the planning committee to make the final decision and for the local councillor to frame the argument, quite impartially for whoever he or she might be representing, rather like a lawyer in court.

6 comments:

Michael Child said...

Thanks for that Simon very helpful indeed.

Does this have to be ones own ward councillor or can it be any councillor?

I ask this because what I believe to be final Pleasurama decision comes before a full council meeting 23rd of this month and I would particularly like the two councillors, who because of their professional life, have a much clearer understanding of the technical aspects of some matters that concern me to speak on my behalf.

They are Dr Alistair Bruce who has a very clear understanding of the environmental safety issues relating to flooding and cliff maintenance and Michael Jarvis who has a proper understanding of performance bonds.

This ongoing saga under both administrations has blighted Ramsgate for far to long and I want there to be no mistake about councillors understanding of what I perceive to be the main problems before they make their decision.

DrM. said...

Your ward councillor is the person who represents the community in which you live, so sensibly, he or she is the person you should approach on such matters, if you feel it might help if the councillor presented your arguments.

Anonymous said...

Has the date been changed at the last minute as I understood the meeting is on Wednesday as normal? I hope if you were planning to speak you get there on the right day.

DrM. said...

Sorry .. corrected to Wednesday.. my mistake!

Michael Child said...

Thank you Simon I think part of the problem here is that the development isn’t just a ward issue, it is so big at a quarter of a kilometre long that it dwarfs things like the Turner Contemporary and if built it will have a major impact on the whole of Thanet.

Whereas my own ward councillor Dave Green I am sure would do his best, the financial and environmental issues here are complex and really need presenting by people who properly understand them.

I discussed the bond with Dave the other day and I don’t think he was clear about the nature of these bonds.

Michael Jarvis with extensive business knowledge of the Commercial and Financial industry, because he worked for over 20 years in the City of London and graduated from London South Bank University with an honours degree in Business Studies, understood what I was getting at straight away.

With the inherent geological and fa├žade structural problems that relate to the cliff, as with issues surrounding flood risk, where I had to learn a code of abbreviations, like ODN, FRA, RIZ, etc to follow the problems, Dr Alistair Bruce is probably the only councillor that would have a working understanding of these issues.

Frankly I would like to have my arguments presented accurately and because of the complex nature of them they really need to be presented by people that understand the technical information supporting them.

Don’t take my word about the complex nature of this but read the EAs letter about it here http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/EA/id2.htm

11 years this council owned main leisure site has been an appalling blight on Ramsgate, now we have a developer who can’t obtain normal business insurance, with yet another set of plans that are not compliant to basic EA safety requirements I want to be absolutely certain that the councillors understand this properly.

Anonymous said...

But Michael, if these two councillors speak everyone ignores them or votes against them because they are SOOO boring