BCP Council planning committee chair defends Christchurch decisions
BCP Council’s planning chair has defended his leadership and the committee against further complaints about Christchurch decisions.
Cllr David Kelsey insisted the process was fair and followed the rules, writes Trevor Bevins of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
He was responding amid allegations that many Christchurch decisions were taken by Bournemouth and Poole councillors who know little about the town.
There has been an ongoing campaign to set up three area planning committees, without success – although BCP Council has promised to keep the situation under review.
The issue was raised again at a recent full council meeting with two questions on the subject from members of the public.
One said councillors on the committee had admitted, on occasion, that they did not know the area they were making a decision about and had not visited locations.
“Is the council comfortable with such a lack of due diligence?” said one.
Another asked the council to investigate it decisions were taken properly, claiming it was a matter of public record that Cllr Kelsey had not been impartial for all items.
But Cllr Kelsey said that for each application all the paperwork, including public comments and proposals, were available to his committee.
He said he welcomed feedback but pointed out his members were bound to take impartial decisions in line with planning law and local policies.
Neighbouring Dorset Council has already adopted three area planning committees, although it still generates similar complaints about councillors making decisions on applications from outside their locality.