Don't miss a story sign up to Sidmouth Herald's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Council aims to be open over planning

07:30 02 February 2014

Plans for new homes have been submitted to the council.

Plans for new homes have been submitted to the council.

Archant

New guidelines aimed at making meetings between councillors and developers more transparent have been unveiled by Ottery Town Council.

The new policy, which comes after a private meeting between councillors and Persimmon Homes sparked an on-going dispute in the council, emphasises that notes taken at future meetings should be made publicly available as soon as possible.

But the document was criticised for not going far enough; with one councillor arguing that members should not be meeting privately with developers at all.

Addressing the town’s planning committee on Monday, Councillor Martin Thurgood talked members through the ‘policy on pre-application meetings with prospective planning applicants’.

He said: “We are aiming to be more open than just about any other council you care to name, so that everyone in the community is aware that our aim is to put information in the public domain at the earliest possible opportunity.”

“We are doing everything that national guidelines suggest, and in terms of openness, much more than that.”

The document states that the council will ‘normally agree to requests for pre-application meetings with prospective planning applicants’ in the case of ‘larger or more sensitive developments’.

But at the meetings, there will be a ‘presumption in favour of disclosure’ – applicants will be encouraged to waive their ‘limited entitlement to confidentiality’ from the outset, and asked to hold a public exhibition at the earliest opportunity.

The majority of members were happy with the proposed guidelines, but the one dissenting voice came from Councillor Roger Giles, who felt the policy ran contrary to public opinion in the parish.

“Stand outside in Broad Street and ask 100 people if they think the town council should be having private meetings with developers,” he said. “You will struggle to find four or five who agree with it.”

“If a developer doesn’t want to meet in public then it’s their loss – it’s in their interest to talk to us.”

He proposed a line be added stating that the town council would not attend private meetings with developers under any circumstances, but his proposal was not seconded.

The policy will be voted on at the town’s full council meeting on February 3.

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 16:59
Dropped kerb could soon be installed opposite Abbeyfield Court in Sidmouth

Appeal from residents to assist people with mobility problems has been listened to

Read more
Yesterday, 16:30
The Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan logo

The protection of the Sid Valley’s natural beauty is among residents’ top concerns, a major questionnaire has revealed.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:39
Hot Pennies is a traditional part of Sidbury Fair week. Ref shs 0906-38-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Organisers of Sidbury Fair Week are looking forward to another packed programme to bring the community together.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:25
Mark Wakely is counting on your votes.

Public support has sent a Sidmouth plumber into the final of a national competition.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:33

Criminals attempted to break into an empty property in Sidmouth.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:18
St Saviours

Plans for vacant St Saviours get green light

Read more
Yesterday, 10:35
Nathan Riley.

A little boy was left with five stitches in his leg after cutting himself on a broken, abandoned, disposable barbecue on Sidmouth beach.

Read more
Tue, 16:30

Vandals threw a bench, a sign, large logs and a red bike into the River Sid over the weekend.

Read more
Tue, 13:16
The Tour of Britain stage start on Sidmouth seafront in 2013. Bradley Wiggins is pictured centre in the yellow jersey. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 9563-38-13SH

‘The race has just gone up another notch in the thrill stakes’

Read more
Tue, 12:30
Former England cricket captain Andrew Strauss presenting Dom Bess with his cap

CREDIT: @englandcricket

The Sri Lankan under-19s captain was caught out by a Sidford teenager making his international cricket debut last week.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 17°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications