Tag: Ironbridge

Ironbridge: Ruling that late report on Gaskell Arms Junction traffic was immaterial

I can’t say I am happy with this. The fundamental rule on planning is that committee members must consider all the evidence before them and that should be all the available evidence. But a report written for the committee on traffic at the Gaskell Arms Junction was not available until two days after the Southern Planning Committee approved the application for redevelopment of the former power station site at Buildwas. I challenged this but that challenge has now been rejected by the chief monitoring officer who says if councillors had seen the report, they would not have made a different decision. That’s wrong in my book. It is not for officers to judge what the committee might or might not have done if they had seen the report. Planning committees must weigh the planning balance. They cannot do that if a report commissioned for members is withheld until after decisions are made. It is clear that the legal officer responding had not read the reports but had “been assured” by the officers who pushed the report though committee. This is broken planning.

Ironbridge: Shropshire Council turns down complaint on voting irregularity

We are still digesting the outcome of the decision to approve 1,075 homes with infrastructure on the former Ironbridge power station site at Buildwas. The vote in being challenged on more than one ground. The four councillors who voted against the scheme had objected to one of those voting in favour doing so despite being about of the room for part of the discussion of the application. That complaint has now been rejected, with the chief monitoring officer on the grounds that a court would not judge the decision irrational (Wednesbury unreasonable). It is a thoughtful response to our complaint and we accept it. However, we are now calling for clear guidance that any councillor that leaves a planning committee meeting during discussion of an application cannot take any further part in the discussion or most importantly vote.

Ironbridge: Crucial Much Wenlock traffic report withheld – it stinks

The biggest planning decision in Shropshire Council’s history is edging towards becoming a scandal. I would not be surprised if it ended up in court. One of the reasons councillors originally rejected the application for 1,075 homes was because of the increased traffic pressure on local roads, especially the Gaskell Arms Junction in Much Wenlock. Now we learn that a crucial report on traffic impact on the Gaskell Arms Junction was not made available by Shropshire Council to committee members and the public before the meeting, even though it was commissioned to inform the planning committee. It is unacceptable that a report produced to inform councillors was published two days after they made their decision on Monday. This stinks of bad practice and poor planning management.

Councillors challenge planning committee vote on Ironbridge

Four councillors are objecting to the vote that approved the huge development of 1,075 homes on the former power station site at Ironbridge. Councillors Andy Boddington, Tony Parson, Caroline Bagnall and Richard Huffer have written to Shropshire Council’s legal team saying that one councillor should not have been allowed to vote. Precedent and probity dictate that planning committee councillors cannot vote if they had not listened to the entirety of the presentation by officers, along with representations by objectors, supporters and the developer. Councillors on the committee must also be present during the subsequent debate leading up to the vote. One of the Southern Planning Committee councillors left the committee room during the Ironbridge debate for a short period. Despite this he was allowed to make a statement and vote without having heard the full arguments. We believe the vote was invalid and should be retaken to ensure that it meets the standards and probity that is required for determination planning applications.

Ironbridge housing – because of an email a planning battle was lost

This afternoon, the Southern Planning Committee approved the controversial application for more than 1,000 homes at the former Buildwas power station having rejected the scheme at its meeting on 10 August. There was an improved offer on the table, not improved enough in my view, but the committee voted by six votes to four to approve outline planning permission for the scheme. But if it was not for an untoward email, the rejection of the scheme would have stood and an appeal by developer Haworth would be underway. Those who oppose the development, in principle or detail, will rue the day that email was sent. Because of an email, a planning battle was lost. I do not oppose the Ironbridge development. I just want to get the right scheme.

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