Councillor receives verbal roasting over planning application for 14 homes (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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Councillor receives verbal roasting over planning application for 14 homes
A HART councillor received a verbal roasting over a planning application for 14 homes.
Councillor Tim Southern, who represents Hartley Wintney at Hart District Council, insisted he did the right thing in not referring the Monachus House plan to Hart’s planning committee, despite telling Hartley Wintney Parish Council he would do so.
As reported in The Gazette, Monachus Estates Limited applied to turn the derelict office building, in High Street, into 14 homes. Planning officers at Hart approved the decision using delegated powers in December.
But the parish council said the number of parking spaces in the plan was below the standard normally set by Hart for houses, and would increase parking problems in the village.
At their meeting, members of the parish council voted unanimously to seek legal advice about challenging the planning decision via a judicial review at the High Court.
Cllr Southern said the planning approval made it clear that the lower parking numbers were only acceptable as there was concern for the state of Monachus House, a listed building.
He said: “I did not take it to committee because had they refused it, it would have gone to appeal. That would have set a standard for Hartley Wintney and Hart, and I did not want that to happen.”
He apologised for not forwarding to the parish council a traffic report commissioned by the developer that attempted to justify the lower parking figure.
But parish Cllr Roger Robertson said: “This is a dereliction of your duty as a district councillor for Hartley Wintney. I’m sorry, but I feel that strongly about it.”
Cllr Jean Amos said: “You claim this is the best for Hartley Wintney. One dares not think what the worst would be.”
Even fellow Conservative and district councillor Sara Kinnell criticised him. She said: “I have to say Tim, I feel like you let the district down.”
The meeting heard that planning officers from the district council will meet with parish councillors on February 1 to explain the decision.