What a collosal waste of time. Costs are inevitable. I will ask someone from CPRE what is the possible justification in terms of ‘local democracy’ that a decision of a committee can overturn that of a full council. This is as undemocratic as Trump asking state reps to overturn a general election decision. It isnt democracy it is Advocado fascism.
A major housing development has been rejected by councillors – despite warnings that the decision flies in the face of a government planning ruling.
The council’s planning committee controversially voted on Tuesday to throw out a scheme for 650 homes at Sturry, on the outskirts of Canterbury.
This led to the withdrawing of associated plans for a neighbouring estate of 456 homes at Broad Oak.
The rejection, which could lead to a costly appeal for the authority, came after impassioned objections about the traffic and environmental impact of the scheme.
he sites are both allocated in the Local Plan for development. They also play a key role in funding the planned £28 million Sturry relief road – which is said to be necessary for the schemes to go ahead.
The combined 1,156 homes of the two schemes are considered crucial to the city council’s target for allocating land for housing. Although both are on the same strategic site, the applications were being considered separately by the planning committee.
As the objections mounted up, the city council’s head of planning Simon Thomas fired a warning shot and reminded members of the crucial Local Plan status of the sites.
Before the vote, he questioned members’ reasons recommended for refusal. He suggested many of them would not stack up if challenged at appeal and the application was only an outline one with details that could change.
They included the objection about the lack of any affordable housing. Mr Thomas said this had already been accepted during the Local Plan process because of the £9 million cost to the developer towards the link road, which the inspector considered took priority.
After the meeting Cllr Baker said he feared the refusal would “not stack up” at appeal and could have a damaging effect on the council’s requirement to deliver a five-year housing allocation plan.
“There was a lot about the application I wasn’t happy with but this decision could end up being costly for the council if an inspector decides the refusal was unreasonable,” he said.
“There must also be serious doubts whether the South East Local Partnership’s contribution to the link road, which is a key element of the funding, will now be forthcoming.”