West Northants Council Must End Planning Enforcement Double Standards
|Author: Councillor Ian McCord
|Published: 5th June 2023 10:02
Independent Councillor for Deanshanger Ward has called on the West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) to end their planning enforcement double standards and stop being seen to be on the side of developers against residents.
Cllr McCord has highlighted recent planning issues in his ward with an application for a distribution centre comprising 9 units and a total of 753,000 sq feet. A local residents group, Furtho Development Objection Group, that has been established to object to this proposal recently erected a large banner with www.Stop3000TrucksHere.org on the side of an old trailer.
Within 48 hours, WNC planning enforcement contacted the group, informing them that this did not have planning approval and needed to be removed.
The planning department meanwhile continue to process the application despite the fact that the proposal does not accord with the council’s adopted policy for the site. The policy states that the site will be accessed from a new roundabout. The plans do not have a roundabout.
The council has a supplementary planning guidance that states no units larger than 80,000 sq feet should be built on the site. The largest unit is 350,000 sq feet.
Meanwhile, just a few miles away major housebuilder Persimmon Homes have been in breach of their planning conditions for months. A part of the Towcester Relief Road should have been opened by the occupation of the 800th house. Currently over 900 are occupied and this part of the road while under construction, is not yet open. The next target at 1016 looks likely to be breached also.
Ian McCord has pressed WNC to take enforcement action to prevent further sales until Persimmon comply with their planning conditions. WNC are refusing to do this claiming it would be unreasonable.
Cllr McCord said. “The double standard is so clear to be seen. When local groups, with no money or in house legal department, have an alleged breach of planning they are quick to act. When a developer, with large resources and an in house legal team, does not comply they take no action, swallow all excuses unchallenged and behave in spineless way.
“WNC must be even handed. WNC must stop ignoring, inventing and dispensing with inconvenient policy, inventing new policy and stretching existing policy to absurd lengths always to the benefit of the developers.”