Letter: Farce of planning meeting vote

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Your correspondents Barbara Guttridge and Lynne Almond give vivid descriptions of the farce played out at Grantham when a silent majority of SKDC members voted to impose an inappropriate office block on Stamford’s Blackfriars Street.

I suspect that the councillors supported the planning application because they feared the financial consequences of a winning appeal by the developer: a possible large bill for costs that would have to be handed on to council tax payers. The risk was real. Government guidance to planning inspectors is somewhat vague, but it tends to give economic growth a much higher priority that any environmental or social objectives. So as Lynne says, money talks, but sometimes in strange tones.

Our town council voted unanimously against the planning application. But were they the planning authority they would have faced exactly the same dilemma as SKDC. It seems to me tragedy rather than farce that powerless town and district councillors can talk about the future of their towns, while the coalition (of the same parties) continues to undermine local government and the planning system, the only things that could empower our elected representatives.

David Grove

King’s Mill Lane,
Stamford