HDC Executive Votes on Local Plan
Good afternoon all,
Just following on from my last article. As most of you will know by now, on Thursday 25th April the HDC Executive (comprising 7 members including the Leader) voted unanimously to recommend to the Full Council that the Harborough District Council Local Plan 2011 - 2031 should be adopted. This will allow for the Lutterworth East Development subject to planning approval.
The document that myself and David Gair issued to them prior to the meeting (and that was re-produced in the last article) was read by all members of the Exec, and the points were dealt with as follows.
Firstly, predetermination. The view of their Legal Council was that putting a future date on the document stating that it was adopted on that date (in this case 30th April 2019) was standard practice and not predetermination. I wonder if they do that for cheques as well? We are clearly not happy with this outcome, and we are taking further (legal) advice.
Secondly, as far as the issues that were raised, six of the seven Councillors spoke. Janette Ackerley, District Councillor for Lutterworth (and one of your representatives) defended her decision to support the Local Plan by saying that it meant that the Planning Committee would now be empowered to stop random planning applications as they would not be provided for in the Local Plan. Unfortunately, Mrs Ackerley failed to grasp the key point, being that the same argument means that anything that is in the plan cannot be rejected - if you look at the planning application for Lutterworth East it is virtually identical to the provisions allowed for in the Local Plan. Simon Lawrence, who as Major Programmes Manager at Leicestershire County Council is responsible for delivering Lutterworth East (and who has also subscribed to this website - Hi Simon!!) must be laughing his head off at the naivety! Janette Ackerley is standing in the District Council elections on Thursday May 2nd, no doubt hoping to be returned to office by the people of Lutterworth.
We also had a comment from the Council Leader, Neil Bannister, a resident of Lutterworth who is standing for election to the District Council on Thursday 2nd May for the Dunton Ward (Dunton Bassett I believe). He said that there were some provisions in the plan that he didn't like - for instance he said that he didn't like the idea of a "mini-Magna Park" at the motorway junction - but overall the Local Plan was good for the District and he was supporting it. He did say that he would campaign against the "mini-Magna Park", but clearly he has also not grasped the fact that as it is provided for in the Local Plan, and it is in the planning application, the chances of stopping it are zero.
Jonathan Bateman, the District Councillor for Misterton, thought that saying nothing was the best bet, and so that's what he did. However, he still voted to recommend that the Local Plan was adopted. Mr Bateman is standing again in the District Council elections on Thursday May 2nd - you may be interested to know that at the moment he holds the post of Portfolio Holder for Environment and Regulatory Services, meaning that he is responsible for Air Quality. Clearly the impact of the new development on Air Quality in Misterton and Lutterworth doesn't concern him - Mr Bateman lives in Broughton Astley...
We did however hear from Richard Hadkiss, a District Councillor for Market Harborough. He agreed that the plan was in the interests of the District, but also had his own tale to tell regarding the things that he wasn't happy about. Apparently, there is a field near him that will be built on - and he will now have to find somewhere else to walk his dog.
So, onwards and upwards! Tonight, Tuesday 30th April, is the night that the Full Council will vote on whether to adopt the Local Plan - and yes, myself and David Gair will be there. We asked if we could speak to the meeting - normally this is allowed. But no ! Tonights meeting has been declared an Extraordinary Meeting, and the one rule change is.......the public aren't allowed to speak! What a coincidence. We have three more Councillors representing Lutterworth, all of whom should be expected to be there tonight and in theory at least should represent the interests of Lutterworth. Mrs Elaine Chapman, who is standing again in Thursdays elections, Mrs Geraldine Robinson, who is also standing again, and Mr Matt Hammond who I believe is not seeking re-election. It will be interesting to see which way they vote - and I will let you know tomorrow.
Anyway, I'll let you know tomorrow how our current representatives vote tonight !