Regret expressed by Uttlesford council officer over comments made at ‘heated’ planning meeting

PUBLISHED: 08:14 30 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:14 30 March 2018

Uttlesford District Council has apologied for cancelling refuse collections

Uttlesford District Council has apologied for cancelling refuse collections

Archant

‘Concerning’ comments picked up on a microphone at a district council planning meeting in which a planning officer said he would be telling a developer to “go for costs” against the authority have been met with criticism.

A recording of the Uttlesford District Council (UDC) planning committee meeting held on March 14 heard a planning officer describe the decision to refuse Persimmon Homes’ application to build 36 houses next to Henham and Ugley Primary School as “the dumbest decision” before adding “[Persimmon] has got to go for costs”.

The meeting’s chairman, Councillor Alan Mills, is heard to respond on the recording by saying “no, he hasn’t got to go for costs”, to which the planning officer says “I’m going to tell him to go for costs”.

Cllr Mills then responds: “No, don’t tell him to go for costs. I don’t want the council to be losing £50,000, £100,000.”

In a joint statement, the governing board at Henham and Ugley Primary School and Henham Parish Council said: “Many Henham school parents and Uttlesford residents are concerned following comments heard on the audio recording of the planning committee meeting on March 14.

“The threat of costs that can be requested by developers at appeal might be used to influence decisions made within the planning department. Several comments have been made to us that children’s lives do not have a price tag and neither does their safety.

“The district councillors previously had the opportunity to visit and view the site. They used the evidence before them and applied a common sense approach in reaching their decision that this Persimmon proposal would put children in danger.”

The governing board added: “Our new head teacher, Kim Hall, and governors are simply trying to keep children and their families out of harms way.

“We would much rather be able to focus all of our attention on getting our school to ‘outstanding’ and ensuring the best possible education for our children.”

A spokesman for UDC said: “On occasion, council officers may need to advise councillors of a risk of an adverse costs award. But it is never acceptable for an officer to say that he will encourage a developer to seek costs against the council.

“The comments followed a heated and emotional discussion about the planning application and the officer concerned has expressed his regret.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Dunmow Broadcast visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Dunmow Broadcast staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Dunmow Broadcast account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Yesterday, 09:24

Highways England has released a schedule of roadworks set to take over the coming week across Cambridgeshire and the East of England.

Fri, 15:27

A Cambridgeshire man who committed a series of sexual offences against children across Essex, including in Saffron Walden has been sentenced to 17 years in prison today (August 17).

Fri, 11:47

A keen fisherman and Flitch Green father has had approximately £4000 worth of fishing equipment stolen.

Fri, 08:55

It may be the school holidays but Dunmow Primary has just heard that the school has been awarded the gold standard in the School Games Award.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Dunmow Broadcast e-edition E-edition

Most read stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Dunmow Broadcast weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy