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Hereford Fire Station Planning Application


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Councillor replies to Fire Station e-mail (post 40):

 

Received 16th September 2014

 

12. Millar, Jeremy (Cllr) Conservative

 

I am not a member of the Council's Planning Committee, nor is the application within my Ward, and therefore I have no role in the decision about this application.

 

However, the County Solicitor confirms that the Committee is not precluded from making decisions about applications in which the Authority has an interest.

 

Yours sincerely

Jeremy Millar, District Councillor, Hampton Court Ward

Cabinet Member, Children's Wellbeing

Herefordshire Council

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County and district councils may grant themselves planning permission for their own development on land in which they have an interest, but that ability is subject to several important safeguards. For example, the proposals must be advertised and decided in public by a committee that is not responsible for land management. The public cannot be excluded from committee meetings at which local authority development proposals are discussed - as my hon. Friend suggested, that could have had an influence on some recent decisions. 

 

To avoid a conflict of interest, applications may not be determined by a committee or officer responsible for the management of the land concerned. Local authority development proposals or development on its land must also be notified to the Secretary of State if it is not in accordance with the provisions of the development plan in force in the area, so that he can consider whether to call in the application for his own determination...Unitary authorities can grant planning permission for their own development on land in which they have an interest, or for development by others on their land, but they are subject to the same safeguards of accountability and publicity.

 

Other minor changes since 1992 

There has been no substantial change in the position since 1992. However, local planning authorities are under more pressure to be very careful about their procedures. That is partly a result of the Human Rights Act 1998, which opens up the possibility of a challenge on the basis that the planning application was not fairly considered. The Standards Board also lays down further guidance for the conduct of councillors in local planning authorities. 

 

Another change is the Freedom of Information Act 2000. For normal planning applications, negotiations between the developer and planning authority, for example over section 106 agreements, are exempt from freedom of information requests on the grounds that they are commercially confidential. However, when a local planning authority applies to itself for planning permission, that exemption does not apply. In other words, a freedom of information request could obtain information about any written negotiations between the local authority officers involved in development and those involved in planning. 

 

Not sure how this applies today as I think the Secretary of State hasn't got to be notified as stated above, but I may be wrong. Any planners out there? Also the Fire Service is making the application not the local authority.

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I believe it's called self preservation Denise. I don't believe any of the conservative councillors will voice an opinion against this, even if their constituents feel strongly about this issue.

 

I honestly think that in their minds, it is better to offer no opinion, than risk rocking the boat.

 

We do not need councillors like this. We need ones who can think for themselves, speak their minds and stand up for what is right.

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Councillor replies to Fire Station e-mail (post 40):

 

Received 16th September 2014

 

13. Bowen, Sebastian (Cllr) Independent

 

Thank you for your letter. I sympathise with your views and think it very unfortunate that the Bath Street buildings should be consigned to dust. I was hoping, when a Member of the Police Authority, that the Police and Fire Service could share a site to be built on the soon to be developed Link Road. This would have made good sense in many ways, including access. I have spoken on these matters but have not got far. I believe that it is legal for Herefordshire Council to determine its own applications, but it is essential that they come before the Planning Committee. If you have any particular queries, I suggest that you contact Mr. Andrew Ashcroft, who is head of Planning Services. Mr. Geoff Hughes is the Director in charge of Environment, and many other things.

 

Kind regards,

 

Cllr Sebastian Bowen 

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It never ceases to amaze how badly informed councillors are about their own council - Mr Ashcroft is not 'Head of Planning Services' and never has been. At best I think he was an assistant director (albeit with an £80k salary). When last seen he was heading for the naughty step, making way for very expensive consultants brought in to sort out the core strategy his department dismally failed to.

 

Marc Willimont is Head of Development Management and Environmental Health, which is planning and environmental health merged, and has been since the start of the year.

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Just reading about a story here in Leicestershire - self explanatory:

 

 
extract
 
Statement from PCC re Judicial Review - Lubbesthorpe development.
 
We can confirm that the Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire has lodged a Judicial Review with the High Court of Justice, against Blaby District Council. The reason for doing so is that Blaby District Council has recently granted permission for 4250 new homes at Lubbesthorpe in Leicestershire and the development will significantly increase the demand on policing in that area.
 
In order to maintain the level of policing presently offered to residents in the District, Leicestershire Police require a financial contribution from the developers of the Lubbesthorpe urban extension towards police equipment and buildings. Both the Council and developer agree that a financial contribution should be made towards policing in Leicestershire, but have entered into an agreement that means no funding will be put in place for very many years, until thousands of new homes have been built.
 
Furthermore, there is no firm commitment in the Agreement to contribute anything towards the buildings that will need to be expanded to house the additional officers and staff required to police the development. As a consequence, acute pressure will be placed on the Force's ability to police the development effectively which is likely to impact on policing elsewhere in the area reducing the level of service provided to existing residents. The police are not opposed to the building of new homes in principle, but if the funding isn't put in place during the early stages of development, the impact on the service offered by Police across the county will be unacceptable. 

 

You could say the same will apply here in Herefordshire with the Fire Service, threatened with losing one engine, yet our council plans to build thousands of new homes when the relief road is built. This rush to have a new fire station on Bath Street may be premature, as a fire station south and north of the river may be a better solution. No one has really thought this through have they. And if Theresa May gets her aim of integrating all emergency services to save more money through further cuts we may have a fire station in the wrong location and further expense to implement and correct future plans.

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Can't wait to see the response from the Council Solicitor? Why exactly do we pay Councillor Johnson if he can't even respond to an email!? I heard the Chief Executive doesn't respond to emails either, hasn't he recently been accused of not answering an email from Bill Wiggins about HUFC?

 

I wonder if it's in Bill Normans job description

 

Must be able to respond to emails for the Council Leader and the Councils Chief Exec!

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You could say the same will apply here in Herefordshire with the Fire Service, threatened with losing one engine, yet our council plans to build thousands of new homes when the relief road is built. This rush to have a new fire station on Bath Street may be premature, as a fire station south and north of the river may be a better solution. No one has really thought this through have they. And if Theresa May gets her aim of integrating all emergency services to save more money through further cuts we may have a fire station in the wrong location and further expense to implement and correct future plans.

This is the email I sent to Jessie Norman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Jessie Norman MP

I am writing to you today about the proposed demolition of the former working boys home on bath street in Hereford so a new fire station can be built.

I am against this proposal as we the people of Hereford will lose a part of our heritage & landscape.

The building itself is structurally sound it also stands in a conservation area. The propose new fire station will not enhance the area but I believe it will diminish the look & appearance of the area, as wot is propose is nothing short of an industrial shed!!

Hereford council have failed to find in ten years a suitable site for HWFRS to relocate. In 2010 HWFRS had a feasibility report compiled where two sites were identified neither of these sites were on bath street?!

I'd also like to draw your attention to wot the Home Secretary Theresa May said this last week that the emergency services should join together in using the same resource to save cost. If the current proposal is allowed to go head I believe it would not save money but end up being a costly mistake for the tax payers.

It would also appear that West Mercia police in Hereford are in need of new premise? would it not make more sense for the two to be located on the same site? As they are both looking for a new homes?

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Local authority members are involved in planning matters to represent the interests of the whole community and must maintain an open mind when considering planning applications. Where members take decisions on planning applications they must do so in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Members must only take into account material planning considerations, which can include public views where they relate to relevant planning matters. Local opposition or support for a proposal is not in itself a ground for refusing or granting planning permission, unless it is founded upon valid material planning reasons.

 

 Revision date: 06 03 2014

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Councillor replies to Fire Station e-mail (post 40):
 
Received 16th September 2014
 
14. Johnson, Anthony (Cllr) Conservative
 
I write to acknowledge your e mail on this subject and to advise you that I have asked our solicitor to respond.
 
Tony Johnson
Leader Herefordshire Council
 
Norman, Bill 
The planning application will be referred to the Council’s Planning Committee for determination: the application will therefore be determined by Councillors, at a meeting which is held in public. Whilst the Council has agreed to the land swap with the Fire Authority, that does not preclude us from determining the application.
 
Regards
Bill Norman 
Assistant Director, Governance
Tel: 01432 260200
email: bill.norman@herefordshire.gov.uk
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Councillor replies to Fire Station e-mail (post 40):

Received 12th September 2014
 
1. Robertson, Sally (Cllr) Independent
I am away until the 15th September and will deal with my emails on my return. If you have any urgent  issues, please contact members support on Hereford 260201.
 
Received 18th September 2014
 
Robertson, Sally Independent
Thank you for your email. I have just returned from holiday and will look into this and get back to you. I do not sit on the planning committee and would urge people to write in response to the consultation. It should be decided at committee and not delegated to officers sib this is something I will be asking.   It would mean that objectors would get the opportunity to have their say although time is limited to 3 minutes (not per objector but for the whole).  I would've asking for an extension of the time). The lawfulness if swapping asserts is something I will take up. 
 
Regards. 
 
Cllr Sally Robertson
 
 
15. Wilcox, Brian (Cllr) Conservative
 
Thank you for your e-mail. I regret I am not available at present although I shall be picking up my e-mails from time-to-time. I expect to return on 24th September and will catch up on outstanding matters shortly after then.
If it is an urgent ward matter, then please contact Cllr Nick Nenadich on 01432 890757 or 07748980235 who may be able to assist.
 
Many thanks
Brian Wilcox [Cllr]
 
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Councillor replies to Fire Station e-mail (post 40):

 

Received 18th September 2014

 

16. Chave, Liz (Cllr) IOC

 

I hereby acknowledge your message, and apologise for not having managed to do so earlier.

I am aware that the whole matter of Bath Street and the Fire Station is complex, and has caused a deal of concern on a number of points. I suspect that the application may, in due course, come before the Planning Committee, of which I am a member.

 

As to your question about lawfulness, the Council does from time to time have to make applications on land it has an interest in – my understanding is that due care is taken to keep the process open and transparent – hence the likelihood of an appearance before the Planning Committee. Difficult decisions (and balancings) have to be made from time to time – and at the present moment, with insufficient knowledge on my part, I am not prepared to come down on one side or the other. At such time as the application appears before the Committee, I will, as ever, do my best to make a reasoned judgment.

 

liz

 

17. Jones, Peter (Cllr) Conservative

 

Sir, I consider that the CFA has acted in a sensible way. I have no other comment. 

 

Yours Peter Jones 

 

 

18. Hardwick, John (Cllr) Independent

 

As a member of the planning committee I do not intend to make comment prior to the application being debated at a forthcoming planning meeting.  At that meeting the officer will present the application and we as members of that committee will then be able to best make a decision of support or refusal.

 

As you will no doubt be aware we must not allow predetermination to cloud our decision.  My apologies for not responding sooner.

 

Kind regards,

 

John Hardwick

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Right! Someone get me a photograph of this Councillor Jones. You can tell an awful lot about someone simply by staring at their image. I've never seen a photograph of him and already I dislike this man. So, if ever his eyes are set to close together and the left eye is set within his skull to far away or to close to the right eye, I'm in business. As for his ears, it'll be a bonus if one ear is set lower than the other.

The barstard! The utter barstard! How dare he treat the mighty Megilland with contempt. I'll be damned if I sit back and put up with this terse response. The barstard!

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Right! Someone get me a photograph of this Councillor Jones. You can tell an awful lot about someone simply by staring at their image. I've never seen a photograph of him and already I dislike this man. So, if ever his eyes are set to close together and the left eye is set within his skull to far away or to close to the right eye, I'm in business. As for his ears, it'll be a bonus if one ear is set lower than the other.

The barstard! The utter barstard! How dare he treat the mighty Megilland with contempt. I'll be damned if I sit back and put up with this terse response. The barstard!

 

Councillor Jones profile: Go easy Bobby.

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Thank you our Megilleland. It's as I thought. Well, for starters, you wouldn't want this little cutie on Hay Bluff staring into the sun with those glasses on. My God! They're like re-entry shields. He'd burn acres of fine grazing land with one single bow of his head. As for the obvious, the eyebrows. I've never trusted a man who's eyebrow hair cannot decide which way to grow and it's this that makes me now dislike this man.

That said, credit where credit is due, the head appears to be reasonably formed. As soon as i saw the head, i thought to myself, 'thats a lovely head' albeit ,its difficult to conclude how it fits in with the lower parts of his body as the photograph doesn't show me anything below the waist.

No! I've seen enough. He's a rotter and a stinker and unless someone can produce a photograph of him playing with lepers who's condition is near on impossible not to catch, I refuse to shift my ground and say he ain't all bad!

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just for clarification, as a past vice chairman of planning, councillors on that committee can not give opinion on any application before that committee hearing the application starts, that would disqualify them from speaking on the application. In that case according to how many councillors are left to debate and vote it could go the opposite to what people want

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