Call for urgent review after alleged 'manipulation' of planning process

The Bolton News: Cllr Andy Morgan Cllr Andy Morgan

A COUNCILLOR has called for the alleged manipulation of the planning process in Bolton to be scrutinised.

Cllr Andy Morgan is urging Bolton Council to carry out an urgent review of planning breaches and enforcement over the past five years.

It follows a number of high profile and controversial planning decisions in recent months.

These include plans to transform a bungalow into a two-storey house in Lostock and a controversial extension to a Sharples home that was different to the original plans.

A motion being submitted at tonight’s full council meeting reads: “This council believes that some applicants and agents are manipulating the planning system to achieve their own personal aims contrary to our own planning policies, guidelines and planning objectives.”

It continues that if successful, officers at the council would be committed to looking into the number of planning breaches and enforcement actions, plus the number of retrospective planning applications by ward and also how many were approved or rejected.

A policy development group would also be established to ensure the planning enforcement process is fit for purpose.

But Cllr Hanif Darvesh, chairman of the council’s planning committee, accused Cllr Morgan of playing with residents’ emotions and expectations by manipulating their understanding of the planning system.

Cllr Morgan said he submitted the motion out of frustration, adding that he thinks there is an emerging pattern of retrospective planning applications coming through to the council.

He added: “This motion is about making sure the existing enforcement system is robust enough.

“This is not a political motion and it’s not a criticism of our officers but we as a group want to make sure our democratic process is being worked through.”


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Cllr Darvesh said: “The planning system/committee is not a court of law. We cannot interrogate or cross examine applicants about a retrospective planning application, nor can we punish them.

“As a member of the committee Cllr Morgan knows full well the legal restrictions placed upon us and the process that we must follow.

“By pretending otherwise, he is simply playing to the gallery.”

Comments (10)

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9:02am Wed 4 Dec 13

oftbewildered2 says...

I don't think Cllr Morgan is 'playing to the gallery' - from comments posted here over the years I am sure there are many of us who have thoughts about breaches in planning applications etc. etc. It would benefit the Planning Committee for this investigation to take place.
I don't think Cllr Morgan is 'playing to the gallery' - from comments posted here over the years I am sure there are many of us who have thoughts about breaches in planning applications etc. etc. It would benefit the Planning Committee for this investigation to take place. oftbewildered2

9:16am Wed 4 Dec 13

robincharles says...

Coun. Morgan again quotes the Lostock house as being controversial. The Planning Office Approved the 2 storey house in 2011 with no objections. The house now being built is in total accord with the 2011 Approval. This is with full agreement of the Planning Commitee as Scrutinised at the Council Planning Meeting in October this year.
Coun. Morgan again quotes the Lostock house as being controversial. The Planning Office Approved the 2 storey house in 2011 with no objections. The house now being built is in total accord with the 2011 Approval. This is with full agreement of the Planning Commitee as Scrutinised at the Council Planning Meeting in October this year. robincharles

9:20am Wed 4 Dec 13

Hulton Park says...

Officers don't like councillors who "play to the gallery" ie: tell the electorate what is actually happening.

The idea that councillors decide anything much in local government these days is a delusion. They are more like the governing body of a school - setting broad guidelines. They are unable to intervene when needed, and virtually powerless in all but the most serious cases of dereliction of duty by local authority officers, who are apparently not answerable even for obvious ineffectuality (failure to enforce their own policies) or even plain incompetence.

Real decision-making on many policy areas has in any case been passed outside the democratic process, to the GMCA.
Officers don't like councillors who "play to the gallery" ie: tell the electorate what is actually happening. The idea that councillors decide anything much in local government these days is a delusion. They are more like the governing body of a school - setting broad guidelines. They are unable to intervene when needed, and virtually powerless in all but the most serious cases of dereliction of duty by local authority officers, who are apparently not answerable even for obvious ineffectuality (failure to enforce their own policies) or even plain incompetence. Real decision-making on many policy areas has in any case been passed outside the democratic process, to the GMCA. Hulton Park

10:48am Wed 4 Dec 13

coolcat says...

Any chance the BN editorial team will manipulate a dictionary? Or even more radically, a spell checker?
Any chance the BN editorial team will manipulate a dictionary? Or even more radically, a spell checker? coolcat

1:12pm Wed 4 Dec 13

Marzi30 says...

Seems a bit pointless letting the Council investigate themselves. They have little or no credibility within the Town as it is. Surely there must be some third party independent group who are able to look into whether Bolton Council have acted right and proper
Seems a bit pointless letting the Council investigate themselves. They have little or no credibility within the Town as it is. Surely there must be some third party independent group who are able to look into whether Bolton Council have acted right and proper Marzi30

1:26pm Wed 4 Dec 13

Julian Thorpe says...

coolcat wrote:
Any chance the BN editorial team will manipulate a dictionary? Or even more radically, a spell checker?
Let us know if you spot any errors and we will correct them.
[quote][p][bold]coolcat[/bold] wrote: Any chance the BN editorial team will manipulate a dictionary? Or even more radically, a spell checker?[/p][/quote]Let us know if you spot any errors and we will correct them. Julian Thorpe

2:04pm Wed 4 Dec 13

Chrome1 says...

This is the same council that manipulated the rules and increased council tax when they weren't supposed to. Works both ways I'm afraid.
This is the same council that manipulated the rules and increased council tax when they weren't supposed to. Works both ways I'm afraid. Chrome1

3:03pm Wed 4 Dec 13

Boltonresident2012 says...

Soooo, just to get this right - when the Lostock house was in the news suggestions in comments very similar to Andy Morgans were pulled -
by Julian and friends.

Very odd with the present article
Soooo, just to get this right - when the Lostock house was in the news suggestions in comments very similar to Andy Morgans were pulled - by Julian and friends. Very odd with the present article Boltonresident2012

5:28pm Wed 4 Dec 13

owencoyle99 says...

What's the problem Nick Peel will make all planning decisions himself
What's the problem Nick Peel will make all planning decisions himself owencoyle99

5:47pm Wed 4 Dec 13

thomas222 says...

Will be very interesting to know where Cllr Nick Peel goes working when his time comes at the next election. Peel has sold his soul and his own for a few pieces of silver.
Will be very interesting to know where Cllr Nick Peel goes working when his time comes at the next election. Peel has sold his soul and his own for a few pieces of silver. thomas222

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