Lessons In Planning

(I’ve change the original headline on this piece (If You Want To Stop Planning – Act & Show Up) as it was rubbish and I didn’t consider it long enough.)
I wanted to write something straight after the DCC meeting that passed the Cheetah Marine planning …

(I’ve change the original headline on this piece (If You Want To Stop Planning – Act & Show Up) as it was rubbish and I didn’t consider it long enough.)

I wanted to write something straight after the DCC meeting that passed the Cheetah Marine planning proposal last week, but time and travelling just didn’t allow it.

If You Want To Stop Planning - Act & Show UpIt struck me that the difference between the two ‘controversial’ planning applications up for discussion that night – Priory School and Cheetah Marine – might be worth having a look over.

Priory School – Strong Turn Out
There was a notable difference between the Priory School planning application – one that if not passed, would have effectively lead to the closure of the school – and that of the Cheetah Marine application.

Priory School had substantial support from the public at the meeting in County Hall – probably mostly parents – but still sufficiently significant that extra provision had to be made from those who attended.

Not only was the public gallery full, but an overflow of people was required to be seated in the actual council chamber.

Priory School and its supporters got the outcome they wanted and are now able to continue unabated.

Cheetah Marine – Weak Turn Out
Compare and contrast Priory School with those of us who went to County Hall to oppose the Cheetah Marine application – a total of seven people turned up. Yes, 7 – and three of them were speaking at the DCC! Sad isn’t it?

We found this completely confusing as it didn’t reflect the views and reactions that we had heard around Ventnor, never mind on the forum.

Is Newport really that far away?

What difference does public support make?
You tell me. Draw your own conclusions.

Priory School got what they wanted with strong support – Did Ventnor as a whole get what it wanted with the passing of Cheetah Marine’s plans?

The councillors on the DCC acted as you would expect when they see no public support and voted whole heartedly (it was unanimous) to allow the Cheetah Marine application to go through.

I think they actually rather enjoyed it – many giving Johnny Basildon-Bond disproportionate congratulations for his performance, while the three members of the public who went there to object were left out in the cold.

The Lesson – Act and Turn Up
Here’s a harsh reality that we learned last week at the DCC meeting. If you don’t make your objections known – through writing a letter of objection AND attending the planning meeting – your councillors won’t be sticking up for objectors (well, not from what we witnessed last week, anyway).

Let’s forget the highly questionable statement by Clr. Johnny Basildon-Bond that the section of the car park that will be built on ‘is seldom, if ever full’; let’s forget Clr Gotcha labelling me a spy for having the bare-faced cheek to want to report what was going on; let’s also forget her ability to twist facts, choosing to solely focus on comments that derided those opposing the Cheetah application; let’s even forget the planning department’s Mr Pegram and his tenuous grasp on reality as he proclaimed that the employees of Cheetah Marine were all going to walk to work, and not use any of the spaces in the car parks – none of those things mattered.

Why? Because there were so few residents of Ventnor there to listen to what went on – and when there’s no one there, those people can say what they like, as there’s no fear of repercussions.

Sadly there’s only one thing that people in ‘power’ respond to – the fear of losing that power and losing reputation. With no-one there to listen to them, they don’t need to fear that.

Next time a planning application comes up that you don’t like, writing a letter of objection is obviously a necessary good start but actually turning up at the meeting is key – countable bodies can’t be ignored or denied.

Let’s not forget, once buildings are built and changes made to the town it’s a very, very long time before they are altered or removed – if ever.

Thursday, 3rd May, 2007 6:48pm

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Filed under: Island-wide, Planning, Politics, Ventnor

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17 Comments on "Lessons In Planning"

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Farmersboy

Some of us have to work to keep the wolf from the door, that’s reality.

Cynicalone

Simon, your comments are worrying because you give the impression that the voting councillors go to these DCC sessions with empty minds, and only speak and vote to reflect the assembled crowd. My impression is that they had already made up their minds because they are the party which supports commerce and seem visibly uncomfortable about turning down anything which brings business.

oldie
Oh, if only it were as simple as you make out. The fact is power is money and money is power. If there is a lot of money involved and the right palms get greased then planning applications will get through. It’s always been like that and probably always will be. The only thing that has changed in the last decade is that the world wide web… Read more »
Nev
It’s a stark reminding you give us of the shameful ignoring of public opinion that went on around the Iraq war – shifting a government with a huge majority and a lunatic for a leader must need more that a million people to change direction. It’s considerably less to shift local politicians and a small planning department. It looks like Priory School use of determined resistance and… Read more »
Simon K
No matter how many people would have turned up at the DCC meeting, the people that cast the votes had already made their minds up in favour of the planning application. They had to approve {or so they say} as part of previous conditions laid down in the past. I recieved a 2 page letter dated 20th April from Andrea Jenkins Senior Estates Surveyor for Strategic Director… Read more »
StarH

Perhaps the lack of attendance reflects that maybe the majority of Ventnorites do not strongly object to the CM plans?

(Am a great believer in the democracy of majority rule)

oldie

Another way of getting what you want is to hack into a website and corrupt it so that all the opposition letters to controversial developments disappear. Then the planners can pass it because no-one has objected.

Farmersboy

No, are you sure, just look at the mill bay applications

oldie
Simon, you are young and optimistic. Those are admirable virtues. I too was young and optimistic once. It’s not rocket science to corrupt a data base or lose data. It happens all the time. Even if it’s lack off foresight not to upgrade your server before data starts to drop off the end, the end result will be the same if you have no paper trail.
Mr BusyBody

It was done & dusted beforehand.

PS The planning application may not have been made under delegated powers but the decision to sell was.

In a recent development, the IWCC decided to insist that any disposal of their land/property shall be reported to the audit committee.

We have yet to see how effective /up to date this reporting will be . See audit commitee minutes for details, property bargains etc