Thursday, 14 January 2010

Nettleham Parish Councillors Annoyed by District Council's Planning Decision

Last night West Lindsey District Council's Planning Committee met for the first time this year, following the postponement of the meeting from last week due to adverse weather conditions. At the meeting a long-running dispute between a property owner, the parish council and the planning authority was resolved. Resolved, much to the dissatisfaction of those members of Nettleham Parish Council who attended last night's Parish Council meeting.

For four years now the parish council has objected to a gated-lean-to area constructed in a sensitive location in the conservation area in the village, the district council supported the parish council's objections in March last year and refused retrospective planning permission.

Last night, Cllr. Alf Frith, Liberal Democrat (Nettleham Ward), effectively torpedoed any possible satisfactory amelioration of the issues by stating the parish council's continued objection at the meeting and then giving his own, personal, contrary view.

Cllr. Frith said:
"Thank you Chairman - I'll declare an interest as a member of the parish council. I don't take any part in planning discussions at the parish council, but I have been asked tonight, because the parish councillor who should have come can't make it - I have been asked tonight if I will put their representation forward - which I will do.

"They, the Parish Council, still maintain their objections to what is there and to this planning application. They have, it has - a long running - saga. I think it's about four years ago when it first started - when it first started, things - things happening, without planning permission. So it has gone on a long time and I can understand the Parish Council's frustration because it has gone on, and on, and on. So they still maintain their objection to it, they think - they believe this should be turned down as it was previously in March.

"My own view is that in March, in the report of the planning officer, it did say 'car-port access gate which is set back from the High Street frontage building line with a plainer style of gates with railings would be a more appropriate treatment'. Now with that being in the refusal, in March, I take the view that this, now, which has been negotiated - I know a lot of work has been gone in by the conservation officer and the planning officer and a lot of work - erm - I think now - I - er - accept the application as it has come forward. I - er - I take no notice of the letter which we have received recently it's - I - it's an ongoing [smirks] problem, but I will support the present application."
The Chairman of the Planning Committee, Cllr. Chris Underwood-Frost, Conservative (Scotter Ward), then enquires of Cllr. Frith:

"Can I just ask if you are moving it?"
Cllr. Frith responds:
"No, no I won't move it because I represented the Parish Council."
The Planning Committee voted unanimously in favour of approval. Whilst at the Parish Council meeting I received a text message informing me of this fact and informed those present of the decision that had taken place at West Lindsey District Council. The reaction from fellow councillors can be summed up as at best annoyed and at worst angry.

Cllr. Malcolm Leaning, Liberal Democrat (Nettleham Ward), who also serves on Nettleham Parish Council and is a member of the Planning Committee at West Lindsey District Council failed to attend either the Parish Council or Planning Committee meetings.

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