The last few weeks have been exceptionally tiring for me - not enough hours for sleeping adequately, let alone blogging. But hopefully things are improving a little bit now.
August is traditionally a quiet month here for councillors. However some interesting things have been going on in the ward I help represent:
First of all Asda and Henry Davidson have withdrawn their appeal on their first planning application - which is mostly for a supermarket on land with outline planning consent as a neighbourhood centre. ... They are now going to appeal on their second one. What's the significance of this? Well, the second application has space for some community uses which the first one lacked - So if Asda win their appeal, what we get will be an improvement on the first application (which our council officers strongly recommended for approval)
However I doubt that Asda will win with their second application . They've clearly switched applications because their advisers felt they were on very dodgy ground with their first one. There are still strong reasons for refusal - heavy traffic, conflict with our council's retail policy, loss of amenity for neighbouring residents - with their second one.
What's the moral to this story? Councillors should always look at applications on basis of their planning merits, not on the size of the applicant.
The second item of interest was an application for a small beauty studio to be housed in a redundant Green Belt farm building - actually a few derelict toilets. Our officers recommended refusal - partly because they felt it might damage the vitality of our High Street, although they didn't raise this concern over Asda. In the end it got passed, because councillors felt it complied with our poilicy on re-using existing farm buildings. But I was struck by the support that the applicant had from her clients. For example, lots of lengthy, articulate, and quite angry comments here on our local website.