“Serious Violation of SBC’s New Local Plan”
A Letter to the Editor by JOHN MOOK of Filey, drawing attention to a very disturbing Planning Application now under deep scrutiny.
Dear North Yorks Enquirer,
I would like to bring to the attention of the Scarborough Borough residents who live near one of the 35 New Local Plan Housing Allocation sites, these are sites that have been assessed and deemed appropriate for future housing development within the SBC Local Plan 2011-2032.
(All sites in the borough can be viewed on the www.scarborough.gov.uk website under the new local plan.)
Look out, look out! The planners are coming to a site near you?
What has happened at Housing Allocation 24 (HA24)? This letter highlights some of the issues – but not all.
There are serious questions of transparency, good governance and questionable practices undertaken by officers and members concerning planned developments in Filey and across the Borough. This concerns the planning permission for housing in the town of Filey, with specific reference to the proposed development of land off Church Cliff Drive (Housing Allocation Site HA24). The McCarthy & Stone proposed retirement living apartments block and bungalows.
Filey Town Council and over 100 residents around the proposed site objected to the proposal and the way the planning officers mis-assessed the Housing Land Selection Methodology & Assessment (HLSMA). The HLSMA document outlines the requirements for acceptable development on the proposed site and is deemed a material consideration document in the methodology and process of planning. Residents used outside qualified professionals to compile reports and assess the HLSMA and other related documents and policies and set up a website to collate information at www.siteha23filey.weebly.com.
The arguments against the proposal were substantial but these have been ignored by Scarborough Council Forward Planning Officers and some Councillors as they voted 7 to 5 in favour of development (plus 2 abstentions) on 04/10/2018. Consequently there is the prospect of 59 dwellings being built on the site almost 100% over development and a considerable number of planning conditions have still not been met.
The Officers and some members failed to recognise that the Government Inspector Mr William Fieldhouse verbally stated at the New Local Plan examination in public that the indicative yield of 30 dwellings was appropriate and justified for this site as stated in the Housing Land Selection Methodology Assessment (HLSMA)/ Allocation Statement. The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘Indicative’ as expressing a simple statement of fact. The statement of fact here is 30 dwellings should mean 30 dwellings. The proposal accepted by the Planning Committee (4.10.2018) was for 59 dwellings.
In the HLSMA. Ref: Question 13 – Historic Environment. The assessment gives 3 alternatives for acceptable development then States “Subject to the above requirements”. Single storey development on the site is a requirement as verbally specified by the Government Inspector and in the HLSMA assessment by SBC’s Conservation Officer. The proposal accepted by the Planning Committee (4.10.2018) was for a two storey apartment block of 39 dwellings plus 20 bungalows to be constructed.
The decision (4.10.2018) does not comply with the HLSMA/Allocation Statement for this site within the Local Plan and undermines the core policies, principles and content of the Local Plan as presented to the planning and development committee on 4th October 2018 by Borough Councillor Mike Cockerill.
Cllr Cockerill states:
“To accept this planning application after much public consultation will go against the allocation statement for site HA24 and will be most dangerous for the very future and credibility for the whole of the new local plan and would be a serious violation to the new local plan, if this scheme is approved I would suggest that a huge hole will be driven through the local plan allowing developers to build what they want.”
At the end of the Planning & Development Committee meeting on the 4th October 2018 in reference to relevant Planning Applications 17/02734/FL and 18/01504/FL, one Councillor was heard saying “SHAME ON YOU!” to the committee members who had voted in favour of development.
(See Scarborough Borough Council webcast: Planning and Development Committee recording 4.10.2018 items 4 and 5.)
The frustration and growing hostility towards decision makers and the Officers employed by the Council is becoming more evident amongst residents. The vote of no-confidence by Whitby and Filey Town Councils was a clear recognition that there are fundamental problems. Residents are being treated in a shameful and disrespectful manner and being failed by their representatives and council officers. Perhaps it is time for residents to make them accountable rather than being ignored?
Members and Planning Officers are not complying with Local Government Ethical Standards, Codes of Planning Practice and The Royal Town Planning Institute (R.T.P.I.) Codes of Conduct.
This has led to official complaints sent to Scarborough Borough Council and their Standards Committee and The Royal Town Planning Institute (R.T.P.I.).
It is at this stage that residents feel they should make reference to the letter to the editor of the North Yorks Enquirer from Mr Bob Roberts, entitled “Change” on the 12th February 2017 .
“When the voters will undoubtedly hold this council to account for all the miscalculations, the poor decision making and the obnoxious arrogance…”
“Who seem to manipulate the system to their own advantage, ignoring established protocols and laws…”
See the full letter here.
We could not put it better ourselves.
The website www.siteha23filey.weebly.com contains all the information that has evolved over the Local Plan and Planning Application period it is accessible to anyone who wants to know more.
Mr John Mook
Resident of Filey.
Representing the 100 plus Filey residents who object to the proposed plans in their current form.