Difficult’ decisions in Budleigh
THE district council has hit out at criticism from Budleigh Salterton Town Council over the way it deals with planning decisions. Budleigh councillors recently complained they felt demoralised when planning decisions went against their recommendations.
THE district council has hit out at criticism from Budleigh Salterton Town Council over the way it deals with planning decisions.
Budleigh councillors recently complained they felt "demoralised" when planning decisions went against their recommendations.
East Devon District Council this week refuted the town council's claims - offering to send a senior officer to Budleigh to explain the district council's position, when faced with conflicting views.
The district council said development control manager Stephen Belli planned to meet with the town council to thrash out members' concerns and discuss their role in the planning process.
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Mr Belli said reaching a planning decision was often 'difficult', but the town and parish councils' views were always highlighted in district council planning reports and weighed up when reaching a decision.
He said all town and parish councils consulted on planning applications were given a longer period than the law allows to make their comments.
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The chief planning officer said all comments, including those raised by the town council, were taken into consideration when making a recommendation.
He said councillors were encouraged to speak publicly at district council planning meetings and invited to site meetings to personally comment on applications.
Mr Belli said: "We know there are times when the decision reached is contrary to the view of the town and parish and sometimes also to that of many members of the public.
"The reasons for that contrary view, however, are clearly expressed both in the report and by members of the committee in their deliberations.
"We wish to reassure all town and parish councils that locally expressed views are important.
"The role of the development management committee and planning officers is a very difficult one in having to balance all those competing views and to make a decision, which is soundly and legally based.
"Government policies do restrict the way in which members can decide planning applications.