Wednesday, 18 March 2015

This comes as Eric Pickles Department of Communities and Local Government indicated its support for the Labour run administration new proposals to save money and streamline the planning process to support economic growth across the county.


CONSERVATIVE PLANNING CHAOS COST TAXPAYER £500,000 

Cost of failed planning appeals cost county taxpayer £500k as Pickles Department signals support for proposed changes

Figures released by Northumberland County Council show the full extent of the cost to the county taxpayer from a planning system which was subject to a series of concerns in an independent report from Deloittes. The report ‘recommended that the Authority takes robust action to address these concerns as a priority’.

The report has formed the basis of an ‘action plan’ by the county council which addressed ‘concerns’ in the report which included ‘the proportion of planning appeals lost by the authority’.

Now the county council have released figures which show the cost of public inquiries topped £1.87m since 2008 and the cost of planning appeals hit £500,000 where planning committees failed to follow officer advice.

This comes as Eric Pickles Department of Communities and Local Government indicated its support for the Labour run administration new proposals to save money and streamline the planning process to support economic growth across the county. DCLG officials have indicated they are happy that the council is acting to improve planning.

This comes as a massive blow to a Conservative led campaign to stop the changes which has attempted to misrepresent the council’s plans especially in the area of town and parish councils’ who previously had the right to automatically have a planning objection heard at planning committee. Under the new proposals town and parish council’s will continue to have a right to object to planning applications and policies in the same way as other statutory bodies such as the Highways Agency, Countryside Agency and other similar bodies.

Labour are challenging local Tories to justify the massive cost to the tax payer of failed planning appeals.

Council and Labour group leader Grant Davey said

“Local Tories seem to think we have a money tree and that wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds of tax payer’s cash is acceptable. It’s not and that’s why we are acting with the support of Eric Pickles and his Department. If local Tories think it’s unfair to allow the town and parish council’s the same rights as statutory consultees then they need to explain why it’s okay to waste tax payer’s cash on a planning system which is slowing the county’s economic growth and isn’t working for the majority of residents. This is yet another example of the Tories trying to play politics with the future of Northumberland and putting politics before people. They’d rather see chaos in the planning system than put party politics to one side for the good of the county”. 

 

Notes

 Concerns raised in Deloitte report

·        the timing of decision making,

·        the workload being undertaken by committees,

·        the proportion of appeals being lost by the Authority,

·        the controls in relation to declaration of interests,

·        the delays in developing the Core Strategy and

·        The effectiveness of the related governance arrangements in place’.

 

Project falls short of Berwick by 25 miles and won’t start until after 2020 General Election


LABOUR SLAM COALITION ‘SPIN’ OVER A1 DUALLING

Project falls short of Berwick by 25 miles and won’t start until after 2020 General Election

News that the Highways Agency have side lined the proposed partial dualling of the A1 has been greeted with dismay by Labour PPC Scott Dickinson in North Northumberland.

The stretches between Morpeth and Felton and Alnwick to Ellingham are now not scheduled to begin preparatory work until after 2020 after the Highways Agency set out its criteria for the work. The original announcement had attracted criticism after it was revealed that the dualled A1 would not include a 25 mile stretch to Berwick prompting calls by Labour to ‘clarify’ why Berwick had been snubbed.

Now Labour’s Scott Dickinson is highlighting the link between short sighted coalition cuts and, what has been dubbed ‘a second rate scheme’. He says that Berwick is being short changed by a government obsessed with ‘spinning’ rather than delivering concrete infrastructure plans.

He’s also comparing the ‘second rate scheme’ with Labour’s new budget which has already seen over 150 new affordable homes built in North Northumberland, the Ashington-Blyth-Tyne line and the new Berwick Infirmary, all delivered through a Labour budget which was opposed by local Tories.

Scott Dickinson said

“Compare Labour’s record on the council of quietly getting on with the job of delivering new homes, new hospitals and a new railway system which mean new jobs, more money in the local economy and new facilities for people with a coalition ‘spin job’ on a ‘so called second rate dual the A1 scheme’ which manages to miss Berwick altogether. Now we’re told the scheme won’t start until after the next General Election in 2020. North Northumberland deserves better than a shoddy bodge job”.