HBC handling of public comments on Planning Applications

Back in December when we were still celebrating the Development Management Committee (DMC)’s decision on the original Domino’s application for 39 West Street, we reported that the developer had re-submitted the application. The cynical timing of this over the Christmas and New Year holiday period highlighted a typical developer’s approach to sliding an application through while potential objectors are distracted.

However you were not put off by this and forty of you responded to the new application expressing your concerns. Despite this, it soon became apparent that the Development Management Committee were running scared of the developer’s threats to take them to a planning appeal and a consequent appeal for their costs. That threat was clear in the only material change in the developer’s application, the rather obvious inclusion of a list of successful outcomes of previous Domino’s planning appeals in other towns.

At the DMC meeting on January 24th, the committee chairman appeared to deliberately ignore the public comments and in a rather obvious pre-meeting huddle presumably issued a ‘three line whip’ to the members of the committee to secure his desired result. To those of us present in the public gallery, the meeting had descended into a farce.

We’re still waiting for a response to our last email on the matter. It’s all rather disappointing considering the time and effort taken by forty local residents over the holiday period.