Lesser of two evils

I ATTENDED Wychavon District Council’s planning committee meeting dealing with the Copcut application in Droitwich Spa as a public observer.

During that meeting, and although he voted against the Copcut application, Councillor Tony Miller voiced the concerns of the planning committee of refusing the application only to see the decision being overturned at appeal.

The committee’s overriding concern does not appear to be that costs would be awarded against the council if they lost a planning appeal, but more that they would effectively lose control of the development when making their own special conditions if more detailed planning consent is granted later.

This is indeed a real and significant concern. Existing communities need protection from developers and their contractors.

In a lost appeal case, Wychavon District Council could potentially have a large development going on in its area, but retain no effective control over it.

Planning consent conditions, as I understand things, can only be placed by the authority granting the permission and if a developer was successful in such an appeal case it would be the Secretary of State who would set those special conditions, not Wychavon District Council.

In the light of this, Wychavon’s planning committee appear to think it better to grant outline planning permission, even if a scheme is plainly unsuitable.

Then, at least, the council would remain in control of the scheme by being able to set its own special planning conditions as opposed to having a remote authority setting them – or not.

I guess they see this as the lesser of two evils.

This, as I said in my original letter of objection to the Yew Tree Hill application last year, does not represent good planning policy.

Further to that, it is not in keeping with the new Localism Bill. We are clearly at risk of ending up with the wrong planning decisions being made for the wrong reasons in our area and I hope that a similar principle will not be applied in the case of theBarberry/Yew Tree Hill application.

Steven Sparrow via e-mail

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