Consultation Process

  1. Drawings that are presented at this stage and  have no measurement or dimension on them should not receive any planning Permission either from Area planning committee or if they use delegated Powers.If the public look at the documents and later find that the build looks nothing like the drawing, works should stop immediately or put right. It is very misleading if the public are given different plans, than the ones the builders are using. Any other industry and trading standards would be involved.
  2. Planning conditions- if Documentation wasn’t handed in or is missing work should stop until the relevant documents are found.
  3. Written documentation by agent/ owner should be held to account (They stated the house would be lower than adjacent house by 1.5 m it is 250 mm higher than adjacent house) if there is any deviation from the approved plan.
  4. Complaint from Objectors should not automatically assume complaint is from an N I M B Y.
  5. If a breach of conditions  happens all correspondence should be added to the councils planning portal for everybody to access.
  6. Enforcement notice –If received and not complied with, all correspondence from objectors’ agents and planners should be openly accessible on the enforcement register.
  7. A simple question should be answered honestly with no need to ask repeatedly for months on end. Eventually asking  Freedom of information questions  to get the answer. This was still not clear on the exact heights as they didnt have the exact height.
  8. When things appear to be very different than what the drawings and documentation presented at the application stage of course the public will remain disgruntled also enforcements attitude is not to punish mistakes .This does not fill objectors with any hope of success with their complaint. I fear developers and agents use this too their advantage.
  9. I feel there is a conflict of interest in some  planning departments.  I had to deal with three family members all senior planning managers, a wife /husband and brother/brother in law. This was not declared .I would write to one another would reply and they investigated each other when complaint was raised. My Complaint was investigated by the very people I had a complaint about .I feel that the family kept the complaint where they wanted it to be.
  10. The Planners and Building Standards department should be on the same page as each other.
  11. Section 33A this should be revised more information required for the general public. At They moment the process is far from clear.

 

Why the contribution is important

Councils are busy trying to engage the public to participate more in the community which I have been doing for years, after my experience with planning, I am afraid I have been totally disengaged.

by Monkstone on February 21, 2016 at 05:27PM

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Comments

  • Posted by JulianNewman February 21, 2016 at 20:26

    I strongly agree with the general tenor of this contribution. I have known several cases where the preliminary consultation is designed to mislead the public.

    I would also suggest that where a planning application gets to the stage of being considered by a council committee, those who have objected or registered an interest should have an opportunity to intervene where statements by officers or others are seriously misleading.

    I would also urge that applicants should not be permitted to present highly selective views which in effect conceal the true impact of the development (this happens, for example, in Wind Farm proposals).
  • Posted by cheng February 21, 2016 at 21:36

    "Community Engagement" "Meaningful Consultation" and the likes are much overused phrases contained within the planning system but in reality are normally no more than a fait accompli which is on offer to the community or general public.
    There is little doubt that the system walks the walk but completely fails to walk the walk when it comes to any "meaningful consultation" or "community engagement"
    From my experience the planning/developer fraternity reminds me a bit like the old fashioned closed shop of the sixties. Got to be a member to get in with the public being kept well outwith.

      
  • Posted by cheng February 21, 2016 at 21:41

    Of course it should have been talks the talk but completely fails to walk the walk.
  • Posted by LMcHAbz February 21, 2016 at 22:04

    I strongly agree with you.

    Our group has had to tender a series of FOIs to find out information about a large development.

    Planning approval was granted with a majority of one vote, on a major development affecting the character of our city. I know that this is still a majority, but for such a major development, perhaps there needs to be a bigger majority. There is currently a complaint to the Standards Commissioner about one entire political party which voted In exactly the same way for every vote concerned with the development, not one party member deviated from the perceived party line, which of course breaches the Councillor Code of Conduct.

    The developer failed to produce final images of the design, despite starting work. They failed to disclose the exact specifications of the materials to be used, months after work had begun. When we complained to the planning department, that the planning conditions had been breached, they said that they had to give the developer 'reasonable' slack, while agreeing that they could issue an enforcement order, but wouldn't.

  • Posted by fionaH February 22, 2016 at 12:14

    I strongly agree with all these comments. Was heavily involved in CEC council consultation a few years ago, trying to prevent Housing Transfer plans they wanted to steamroller though and after attending meetings where I protested, as did others, the minutes would be sent out saying number attended and unanimous agreement. So we were being used in a very corrupt manner and somehow nothing seemed to change the minutes of the so called 'consultation'.

    It is as if the CEC council believe consultation to be ratification of their ideas, by hook or by crook and nothing more.

    Buildings appear on land grabs without warning and we have recently had a piece of land in the very centre of Edinburgh, completely deforested to make way for a Bike Park - no proper consultation (some houses apparently have had letters and 'neighbours' were given information) and no attempt at providing information. It is now a fait accompli with the trees all gone - but we are portesting to stop further damage to the area and to stop the Bike Park being built as there is no capacity in this tiny piece of land, which is really busy already and very valued by the local people.

    Planning department have been keeping it all a secret it seems, particularly from the lcoal community, despite the rhetoric of community engagement, consultation and other false buzz words.
     
  • Posted by BW February 23, 2016 at 19:00

    "..... also enforcements attitude is not to punish mistakes .This does not fill objectors with any hope of success with their complaint."

    very true, I know of one example where the developers were caught out fraudulently doctoring noise survey data, when I contacted the police they said that they were not allowed to get involved unless the council made a formal complaint. Aberdeenshire Council refused to go to prosecution, implying that it was all a mistake by the developer.
    In a separate application, coincidently by the same farmer, when I complained to the council asking why they had totally ignored my submission pointing out that the second application was also more fiction than Harry Potter and why they had not checked out the facts I was told "We just have to take the applicants word for it". It begs the question what do planners actually do to earn their salt if they just read and accept all the lies and misrepresentations submitted to them?
    Unfortunately the law on fraud is different in Scotland, being a common law offence, compared to England and Wales.

    I cannot understand why planning officials and councillors are not keen to prosecute fraudulent applicants, unless they happen to have an inappropriate relationship with the developers. That is why the general public feel totally excluded and disenfranchised when it comes to planning. Too many dodgy off the record deals and mysterious envelopes.
  • Posted by LF February 23, 2016 at 23:13

    Having had extensive dealings with local Planners , pursued formal complaints, and going so far as to appeal SPSO decision, I entirely empathise with the frustration and disillusionment expressed in previous comments. It is clear that planners consider "community engagement" as something to be avoided, or at best tolerated, but certainly not to be encouraged. There is certainly no sense, that "TheyWorkForYou"
    Planning has lost its way. It is no longer a means to work out solutions to our problems, such as energy and housing needs, or a way of creating sustainable communities that work with nature rather than destroy it.
     Instead it has become strongly focused on the delivery of development as a means of promoting economic growth, with community involvement being viewed as putting a break on the all- important free market.
    We need to collectively DEMAND a package of reform that strengthens planning. We need a system that gives planners the capacity and resources to decide –WITH the community- where to put our houses, our schools, and industry
  • Posted by JohnColledge February 28, 2016 at 19:16

    It is such a relief to know that ‘we are not alone’ in our condemnation of CEC Planning Dept. In fact, contrary to the SPSO’s claim that it was ‘not in the public’s interest’ to address the many issues local residents have raised with them, more than 5500 people have disagreed with him by signing a petition showing they have no confidence in this department.

    We can accept that people make mistakes, but with the same achitects and developers during three different applications at the same site? There is no excuse for the ‘nonsense’ we have been provided with in an attempt to cover up the fact that there has been something ‘rotten at the core’ of this department for at least 15 years and those that should be addressing it do nothing.

    From our own experience, we live in a city where buildings can be in two places at once, developers have the ability to install new gas-mains in our gardens without our permission or us noticing the work being done, Planning Dept staff can determine where a new development is in relation to our houses before the builders even move in, (but disagree with each other and their Planning Committee over what has been applied for or approved).

    Perhaps most bizarre of all, if a building is built nearer your house than approved by your Planning Committee, it means the plans must have been wrong rather than yet another breach of planning control has been allowed to take place. We had pointed out anomalies in two applications in advance but been ignored. We now know that misleading the public and Planning Committee is an acknowledged failing in Edinburgh’s planning system. The catalogue of, at best incompetence, deception and cover up continues unabated.

    I have just asked the five main party leaders why we still have legislation that fails to serve the people of Scotland by allowing these issues to arise repeatedly without anyone being held to account let alone rectify the situation. It will be interesting to see their responses.
  • Posted by sweyn February 28, 2016 at 19:36

    Having read the above comments it is clear that consultation at present is merely a sham for some councils. This part of the process should be engaged with in an open and transparent manner, if mistakes are made (at best) or biased information is offered (at worst) these should not be brushed under the carpet and the process be respected with corrective measures if necessary actioned.
  • Posted by Portyhome February 29, 2016 at 11:34

    Public views should be taken seriously into consideration at all stages of the process otherwise what is the point of inviting comment?
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