Kitchen cabinet capers – end of planning rules

By Insider

Cllr Farquhar’s in the chair. We’re still at home, of course, and it looks like a typical planning meeting. Most of the items, such as the single-storey rear extension in Lower Road, the first-floor extension in Castle Street, the front and rear extensions, with garden remodelling with replacement of a garden shed in Ayrshire Close and conversion of a garage to create an annexe in Empire Road, as well as the various and rather sad digging up and cutting back of trees and bushes, have been given a ‘No Comment’ which means, of course, that WC, by now, has already passed them.

Which leaves the extensive alterations in Old Blandford Road, the proposed two-storey side extension in St George’s Road, things happening to a house in North Walk, change of use from retail to residential in the High Street (sign of the times, I’m afraid) and a replacement rear extension in Westbourne Close. And a few others.

Just like a hundred other planning meetings, it seems.

Well no. We have a new lady among the councillors and we’re all wondering. Has she come to the wrong meeting?

In fact, Dr Andrea Pellegram, professional and much-respected town planner, has some interesting news for everyone, particularly the council.

It’s to the effect that the planning committee is likely to be no more if the government has its way.

Planning committees at council level everywhere are set to be abolished. It’s been decided that planning rules can be decided centrally, without involving local councils.

Andrea is strongly opposed to this. They promise everything will be better but she disagrees. She thinks central government is trying to curtail neighbourhood plans and that this is a mistake. There’ll be less affordable housing for one thing and not enough opportunities for public comment. Cllr Tomes thinks good planning needs a committee with local experience. Cllr Berry agrees. He thinks Andrea’s spot on.

Anyway, it’s open for consultation till October 29. Andrea’s going to write a ‘narrative response’ and they’ll liaise with city clerk Annie.

Cllr Tomes promises that they’ll discuss it at the next planning meeting (while they’ve still got one).

Apparently, there’s also some concern about the river Avon and the water quality not being what it was. I think we shall hear more about this.