Planning statement left me choking on my breakfast
I VERY nearly choked on my porridge while reading the letter from Councillor Bill Stevens (Your Say, November 15). The Plymouth City Council planning committee meetings are available to view on its website webcast. Readers might like to take a look to get a flavour of the Bill Stevens Roadshow.
I have had the misfortune of attending the last two meetings. It is not very pleasant, controlled beyond belief and dictated by the chairman and his planning department's legal advisers/supporters. I hope to never go again.
Councillor Patrick Nicholson (Cons) had personally referred a planning application to the committee because he was unhappy with the manner in which it had been originally granted and sought to challenge its approval at the retrospective planning stage.
An original application had been made for an alteration/extension to a two-bed bungalow in Colebrook. Despite guidelines stating that planning officials should ensure that such changes are 'in keeping with the appearance of the existing house' they allowed this small bungalow to be increased by 164% to become a four-bedroom, two-storey house with gabled wings and dormer windows. It was deemed by the planning officer as being 'in keeping with the character of the area', was not 'demonstrably harmful' and was 'compatible with its surroundings'. Truly unbelievable.
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Enter Councillor Nicholson (Con) who brought this matter to committee; it was deferred for negotiation with the agent despite Councillor Stevens looking to second anyone who would propose landscaping and grant the application (2hr 28min on webcast).
At the meeting on November 8 Councillor Nicholson explained why the application should be refused; I as the public speaker support this.
Councillor Bowyer (Con) proposes refusal, Councillor Churchill (Con) seconds.
All the Labour councillors voted for retrospective permission. All the Conservative councillors voted for refusal. It is granted by Labour.
Councillor Stark is taken to task and a 'warning' threatened to all Conservative councillors because he remarked that they were being bullied by the chairman and his planning and legal department. (Min18 to 1hr 28).
See it for yourself . To suggest hisConservative colleagues get off the fence is a real insult. I would imagine Councillor Stevens' favourite song is My Way, because he certainly makes sure the Labour councillors jig to his tune. My porridge is now cold.