Planning breach probe is rejected
A BID for alleged manipulation of the planning process to be scrutinised has been knocked back by councillors.
Cllr Andy Morgan called on members at Bolton Council to support an investigation into the number of breaches of planning consent and enforcement actions, plus the amount of retrospective applications per ward and whether they were approved.
He also wanted a ‘Task and Finish’ policy development group (PDG) to look into the whole planning enforce-ment policy to make sure it was fit for purpose.
It follows a number of high profile and controversial decisions including an extension to a Sharples home, which was built significantly differently to the original plans.
But during a debate at full council on Wednesday Cllr Cliff Morris, leader of Bolton Council, said a PDG group made up of councillors across the political spectrum already exists in the council.
It has the power to examine suspicious activity in committees across the authority — but he added he didn’t think there was a problem with the planning system.
Cllr Morris said: “I’m disappointed in this motion — it’s implying that we are a bit bent in planning. We are not.
“It’s the law of the land – if someone wants to ask for retrospective planning permission we judge the application individually.
“There is no way my members can support this.”
Speaking after the debate Cllr Morgan stressed that the motion was not a criticism of council officers, but about making sure that the planning system was fit for purpose.
He said: “I’m confused and very, very disappointed. They were playing politics.
“The leader said he would put it to a PDG — that’s exactly what we were asking for via the motion. This motion was about giving confidence back to the public, and showing that the planning system is open, transparent and playing to the rules.
“I was surprised that the chairman of the planning committee didn’t get up and speak about the motion — you would think he would have wanted all the checks in place to give the confidence back to the public.
“We will be taking Cllr Morris up on his offer of a PDG, as we still want the process reviewed.”
Comments are closed on this article.