The first law of holes states: “if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging“. Unfortunately, Folkestone & Hythe District Council Planning department do not seem to understand the first law of holes.
The minutes of the planning committee held on the 20th Oct 2020, with regard to the Tontine Street planning application Y19/0016/FH – state:
That planning permission is granted subject to the conditions set out at the end of the report and the applicant entering into a S106 agreement securing payments towards Folkestone GP provision, community services and off-site contributions towards affordable housing and that delegated authority be given to the Chief Planning Officer to agree and finalise the wording of the conditions and the legal agreement and add any other conditions that he considers necessary.
As we understand planning consent was not granted by the 4 Tory Cllrs, 1 UKIP Cllr and 1 Independent Cllr who voted in favour of the application, on the 20th Oct.
Planning permission is only granted on the date stated on a decision notice. As yet no decision notice for the Tontine Street planning application – Y19/0016/FH – has been granted, as the outstanding matters, regarding the s106 agreement have not been resolved so the Council say.
However, when one looks at the report DC/20/22 issued to Cllrs on the planning committee for the Tontine Street application, it states in it’s final sentence on page 24:
1. This development is subject to the terms of the accompanying s.106 legal agreement.
Which means that a s.106 agreement is already in place between the Council and the applicant. We fail to understand how the Council can state a s106 agreement has to be entered into in the minutes, when it’s clear in the report to Cllrs this has already happened.
One has to feel sorry for the applicant who owns the site – Lance Stephen Mckay – who bought the land on the 12th July 2017, for £400,000, according to the land registry.
All we can say is this mess the Council have created by failing to release the Viability assessment for eighteen months, and now the s106 agreement issue, creates an even larger hole, and as the first law of holes states: “if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging“.
As we have said previously, the initial decision ought to be quashed and a fresh application brought back to the planning committee.
The Shepway Vox Team
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