Fit for purpose? You decide.

Eight Cllrs involved in the Little Densole Farm Judicial Review who voted irrationally and caused Shepway District Council having to pay £22,750 in costs for the Judicial Review; which SDC lost, five of them have received planning training at a cost of £2,350 to the taxpayer. In a response to an FoI Request by our public face, SDC have released the following data.

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Cllr Simmons, Wheeler, Pascoe, Laws and Berry (all pictured below)

Screenshot from 2018-02-17 10-25-38 Screenshot from 2018-02-26 02-28-07 Screenshot from 2018-02-26 02-27-40 Screenshot from 2018-02-17 10-54-40 Screenshot from 2018-02-17 10-27-33

received planning training shortly after their election in May 2015. All these Cllrs voted irrationally and as Justice Lang made clear the Planning Committee failed  to explain the reasons for its decision, and its departure from the Planning Officer’s recommendations and went onto say:

  • “… raises a “substantial doubt” (in Lord Brown’s words) as to whether they had properly understood the key issues or reached “a rational conclusion on them on relevant grounds”. This is a case where the defect in reasons goes to the heart of the justification for the permission, and undermines its validity. The only appropriate remedy is to quash the permission.”

Now they have all received training yet failed to properly understand the “key issues”, so where will this leave us – the Shepway public – if they vote on Princes Parade, Otterpool Park, the Seafront Development or any development mentioned in the Draft Places and Policies Local Plan (Consultation ends on the 19th March). Will they be fit for purpose and be able to demonstrate sufficiently they understand the “key issues”? 

  • Should the Cllrs who sit on the Planning & Licensing Committee, who voted irrationally be replaced with more competent Cllrs?

fit for purpose 2

The costs of the case are not just the £22,750, it is necessary to factor in the costs of bringing the case to trial, so the hiring of the solicitors, the barrister, and preparing the bundle for trial, these costs have to borne in mind too.

According to SDC’s payment to suppliers, they paid Lsr Solicitors & Planning Consultants , SDC’s choice of company to defend the Judicial Review, the sum of £14,681.82 for professional advice, between July 2017 and January 2018. Whether all these payments relate to the Judicial Review is not known yet.

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However, if they are, they will have cost the Shepway taxpayer £37,431.82. That’s quite an expensive irrational moment by eight Cllrs; which of course they do not personally have to pay for – the public purse does. So with all that training the five Cllrs mentioned above have had, we in our humble opinion think they are not fit for purpose. What do you think?

The Shepwayvox Team

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1 Comment on Fit for purpose? You decide.

  1. I wonder if a kind of “Reverse Peter Principle” extends to local elections where accomplished Village Idiots get elected to Parish/Town/District/County councils and succeed?

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