CROYDON COMMENTARY: After reading our report on the lengthy delays on processing planning applications, ADRIAN DENNIS, pictured right, a former Labour councillor, says that there are regular examples of abuse of planning powers by senior council officials
Sadly there have been long delays in processing planning applications for some time and these have only become worse.
However, it is not the delays that are the biggest problem, but the bad decisions.
Officer reports – prepared by the council’s professional staff – are often rushed and inaccurate, public consultation is not carried out, and officers refuse to answer queries about applications or their decisions. The planning service is now in a worse state than I can ever recall, and I was on the committee for 20 years from 1986 to 2006.
In one, current case, a householder in Norbury was advised in 2014 by a planning officer that the rear extension he wanted to build was permitted development under the government’s new rules which allows larger extensions if the immediate neighbours do not object.
Having the support of his neighbours, the Norbury resident built the extension, only to discover later that he should have submitted an application to the council at the time.
The council is now forcing the family to tear down the recently built rear extension despite it having been permitted development if the right form had been submitted at the right time.
Despite the fact that once the extension is torn down at great expense and distress to the family, they could rebuild it as permitted development again with the council powerless to stop them, the council insist on their punitive action to teach this family a severe lesson.
I am not sure what that lesson can be, other than to demonstrate that those responsible are insensitive morons.
Sadly, councillors and the MP are all avoiding representing their constituents as it would upset the powers that control planning in Croydon, while Gavin Barwell, the Minister of Planning, seems uninterested in the abuse of planning controls in his own borough.
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