Disdainful commentary from Mr Sharpe not helpful
17 Apr 2010Disdainful commentary from Mr Sharpe the Doubleday’s planning consultant regarding the Parish Council is not helpful is resolving the significant differences of opinion that still exist in relation to the preparation of the Development Brief for Stones Farm.
Recent Freedom of Information requests have turned up minutes from meetings with Swale Borough Council where Mr Sharpe has labelled the Parish Council as “Machiavellian”.
In recent emails to residents Mr Sharpe refers to remarks made by the Parish Council in relation to the delivery of Stones Farm as “Local Gossip”.
Indeed rather unhelpfully Mr Sharpe has advised residents that “contrary to local gossip, Stones Farm has not been brought forward but has indeed been set back in the planning process. “
Firstly the remarks that the Parish Council have made in relation to Stones Farm being brought forward by two years were taken from a document on Swale Borough Council’s website.
Secondly as a member of the Swale Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment Partnership Mr Sharpe would have been all too aware of this.
Finally although the Borough’s Local Plan states that development may start from 2011 this in no way binds the Council to commencing the development at this point, so it is simply not correct to suggest that the site has been put back in the planning process.
Technically if significant progress had been made within the Borough on other housing developments in the Local Plan period which currently ends in 2016 the site could have been dropped altogether, although this is almost certainly not going to happen.
Interesting when the Parish Council queried the timing of Stones Farm in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment we find that the Council initially proposed development taking place from 2014 and then subsequent to discussions relating the to sites dependency on the Northern Relief Road the site was indeed brought forward.
It is most interesting that the Borough Council had this opinion given the spectacular u-turn Kent Highways Services performed during the Local Plan Inquiry where they went from holding the same view point to detaching dependency on the Northern Relief Road within the space of the lunch break during the hearing.
However commencing the site in 2014 has obvious benefits in terms of the progress that will have been made on the Northern Relief Road proposals and would lead to much tighter integration of the two schemes. Although not wishing to unduly influence any housing delivery targets Kent Highway Services agree with this approach.
Perhaps if the Borough Council had seen fit to allow Parish Council’s a seat on the Swale Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment Partnership we would have had an opportunity to voice this opinion, but contrary to planning guidance Parish Council’s were not allowed to take part.