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Vice-Chair’s Report of the HRA Committee Meeting of Monday 14th August 2014

Vice-Chair’s Report of the HRA Committee Meeting of Monday 14th August 2017

The August meeting was convened because of the number of current contentious issues outstanding…

  • The Chair welcomed those attending, including Adrian Pickering of Hilldown Rd, who had agreed to attend a few meetings with a view to being considered for joining the committee. Cllrs Claisse and O’Neil were also present.
  • University – Jon Walsh gave an update on current activities. “The Steps” were in the Appeal process and there was to be further discussion regarding the proposed extinguishment of the ROW over Salisbury Rd.
  • Meeting with Sam Fox, HoP – The Chair gave a report following circulation of his minutes of that meeting which were, to use the euphemism, best described as being “full and frank”! A large number of outstanding questions remained unanswered (attached below)  and as Mr Fox was now away until the end of August, this was felt to be a good opportunity to involve Richard Crouch, the Director responsible for Planning.  Cllr O’Neil undertook to follow this up.  It was suggested the Chair should contact other RAs for additional support in this regard.
  • Finance – in the absence of the Treasurer there were no detailed accounts available but it was confirmed we were solvent and still had money in the Contingency fund. Discussion took place on how best to replenish the Contingency fund and to set a higher amount for future potential needs.  This matter was deferred for fuller discussion at the September meeting, when it was hoped there would be more Committee members present.  It was further suggested we should look again at organising Social events in the interests of community involvement
  • Planning – there was a final review of the Judicial Review for 12 Russell Place and in spite of being unsuccessful it was felt the exercise had been justified and worthwhile and that some positives had come from it; not least putting the Council on notice for any future similar cases.  Reference was made to the Judge’s criticism of the Council’s handling of the case.  It was confirmed following a previous decision not to oppose the proposals for the Blockbuster site, that an objection had now been lodged, following requests to do so from members.  Adrian Pickering gave a report on the progress of the Hilldown Rd site, where work had now commenced, in spite of the last Planning refusal.  The question was, whether the applicant was now implementing the original permission for residential accommodation?  Adrian and the Chair had both contacted the Case Officer in that regard and Ward Councillors suggested a follow up with Planning or Enforcement accordingly.
  • Website – Nadine gave a report and referred to being unable to obtain any response from Coffee# for their ad. She also asked that she be copied in to all planning objections for inclusion on the Planning page.
  • Committee structure – the Chair emphasised we were two key Officers short (Chair and Treasurer) as well as at least one committee member and that he was finding all the additional workload increasingly burdensome and stressful.
  • AOB – the Secretary gave details of queries raised by PCRA regarding a Residents Parking scheme and 20 MPH speed limits for residential areas. It was felt with Council resources as they are neither were likely to gain any traction at the present time.
  • Date of next meeting – Monday 11th September

Outstanding questions for Planning Dept

8 Westridge Rd –

  • why was Enforcement not carried out as agreed at the time in both January 2013 and again later in January 2016?
  • why was false information provided by the applicant in seeking an LDC accepted at face value and not verified, following contrary evidence provided by local residents?
  • In spite of the foregoing, why was a further retrospective planning application then facilitated in November 16?  (notwithstanding it’s withdrawal on the night)
  • Why was this whole process not dealt with under Sec 70 of the 2011 Localism Act, which could have ended the matter?
  • What action is now going to be taken following our meeting today?

Outstanding LDC applications

  • 8 Westridge (as above), 44 Bassett Ave & 14 Pansey Rd

Outstanding Enforcements

  • 28 Brookvale Rd, 5 Crofton Close, 8 Westridge Rd, 44 Bassett Ave

Localism Act 2011

  • SF agreed to see if SCC is using Section 70 of the Localism Act correctly or even effectively and if not why not, based on the letter provided from the Housing Minister to JG.

Planning applications

  • 5 Crofton Close – why was a recent Planning application facilitated rather than being disposed of under Sec 70 of the Loc’ Act 2011?  Why was the outstanding Enforcement not dealt with expeditiously and further, why was the Enforcement Officer apparently assisting the Applicant with a revised application, rather than carrying out the long outstanding Enforcement?
  • 14 Crofton Close – why was this application not brought to Panel as required following some 5 objections and a request from the Ward Cllr?  This was given permission under Delegated powers, to the extreme detriment of the adjoining property.  Can this permission now be rescinded and referred to Panel?
  • 8 Westridge – already referred to.
  • 12 Russell Place – in spite of losing this recent Judicial Review and following the Judge’s comments that he felt… there was something uncomfortable in the approach of the Council and that… many other decision makers might have taken a contrary approach and assessment… one is bound to ask therefore, why the Officer was so adamant in her recommendation to Panel when the material harm now caused to the neighbouring property’s living room/dining room is so obvious?
  • ‘Builders Yard’,  Hilldown Rd – whilst this application has been refused, clarification is sought over the technicality concerning change of Use,  B8/C3/4?  Concern was also expressed about the role of Cllr Burke from another Ward in supporting this application.

Jerry Gillen, Vice-Chair