Once is a mistake, twice is a pattern, three times is a habit. So discussing Otterpool Park behind closed doors has become a habit for Shepway District Council (SDC).
Tonight (7pm) at the Overview & Scrutiny Committee agenda items 14, 15 & 16 states that the Cllrs will receive a presentation about Otterpool Park, by who it does not say and we, the public, will be excluded by virtue of paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972. The fact remains that Para 9 of Part 2 of Schedule 12A of the LGA 1972 states:
“Information is not exempt information if it relates to proposed development for which the local planning authority may grant itself planning permission pursuant to regulation 3 of the Town and Country Planning General Regulations 1992″
And Para 10 Part 2 of the LGA 1972 states:
falls within any of paragraphs 1 to 7 above; and
is not prevented from being exempt by virtue of paragraph 8 or 9 above,
is exempt information if and so long, as in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
So how have SDC come to the decision, that all the circumstances of the case, the public interest for disclosing the information has been overlooked, yet again. SDC appear to have nothing but contempt for the public, by holding these agenda items behind closed doors
It is clear that Shepway District Council and its elected officials have taken no notice of the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Sajid Javid MP and his fine words
“If people are going to trust their elected representatives, they have to see them working in the harsh light of the public eye, not in comforting shadows behind closed doors. Not only must democracy exist, it must be seen to exist. It can’t be about decision made in private meeting rooms… local government must show it is for the people – not just of the people.”
Also at the same meeting the Princes Parade Project Development Strategy will be discussed – agenda item 8. In the report it states:
“It is anticipated that the planning application for the scheme will be considered by the Planning and Licensing Committee in the autumn of 2017.”
But the more revealing information is is Part 2 of the Shepway Places & Policies Local Plan (PPLP) at page 19, paragraphs 3.107, 3.108, 3.109, 3.110 and 3.111.
Princes Parade received 512 comments (page 19) and made it the most commented on item of the PPLP. It is mentioned 35 times in Part 2 of the PPLP.
Objections from the public and Hythe Neighbourhood Plan Group; Shepway Green Party; Shepway HEART Forum; Sandgate Parish Council; Monks Horton Parish; and Monks Horton Parish and Sellindge and District Residents’ Association, were made during the consultation.
Regardless of all the objections received during the consultation, SDC are still hell bent on developing it and as we have said a planning application for the scheme will be considered by the Planning and Licensing Committee in the autumn of 2017.
Was there any point to the consultation, when SDC are not Listening to Local People – nor allowing residents to influence decisions and shape their local community, they are as we have previously said treating us with utter contempt.