Campaigners force debate over "inconsistent" planning decisions in Stockton South (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
2,500-signature petition handed in to Stockton Council to force debate
PROTESTERS demanding an investigation into decisions made by Stockton Borough Council’s planning committee handed in a 2,500 signature petition today (Monday September 30).
The petition, organised by the Save Stockton South group (SSS), and handed to council leader Bob Cook, is to force a debate about the “inconsistent” decisions made by councillors on the planning committee.
More than 2,000 signatures are needed to bring about a debate in a full council meeting and thousands of people in Yarm and Eaglescliffe, angry about the 1,800 homes that have been approved in their towns in the last two years, have signed the petition.
Coun Cook, a Labour councillor, accepted the petition and said he had seconded a motion – which will be discussed in a full council meeting on November 6 – on national planning policy, which he said was not working as it should.
But campaigners said they wanted their debate to focus on Stockton’s own decisions regardless of national planning policy, meaning there could be two separate debates.
SSS campaigner Sandra McLeavy said: “The planning committee is inconsistent in making decisions, sometimes following policy and planning officers, sometimes ignoring them without good reason.
“They have voted against planning officers and consultant recommendations, without any real planning basis, bringing into question the capability to make sound and just assessments.
“This is supported by a series of very poor decisions suggesting members are not familiarising themselves enough with council local plans and policies.”
Coun Cook said: “The national planning framework is not working as it should be. It does away with any brownfield sites under the new guidelines and gives more power to the developers.”
The motion backed by Coun Cook calls on the Government to review its planning policy, which it says: “effectively removes planning control from local authorities and communities and places it in the hands of private developers”.
Coun Cook said he sympathised with residents and aimed to get a debate in parliament about the current planning rules which discouraged brownfield development.
However, protesters said they felt he had missed the point. Although they welcomed a debate nationally, campaigner Christine Mundy of SSS said: “We want the often contradictory and inexplicable actions of Stockton’s own planning committee looked at, not just the national planning framework. They can’t blame it all on that.”
Comments are closed on this article.