A councillor was accused of predetermining a housing application at a development meeting LAST week.
As a plan for 103 homes in Stane Street, Pulborough was approved by Horsham District Council at Tuesday’s (July 15) development control committee meeting, Pulborough resident Lorraine Dale argued that the application may have been predetermined by committee chairman David Jenkins.
Mrs Dale played a tape recording of Mr Jenkins at the committee meeting for the district councillors to hear.
In the February 2012 recording, Mr Jenkins could be heard saying to a planning officer: “I needed to let him ramble on because I needed to get it through,” in relation to the outline application for 103 homes that was approved by the committee.
However, councillors this week dismissed the recording, claiming it was inaudible, and a planning officer said that people will have to ‘accept’ the comments that were made in 2012.
After the meeting Mrs Dale said she still wants a ‘straight answer’ from Mr Jenkins about his comments.
“I am angry that David Jenkins can make comments like he did at the end of the 2012 committee meeting and that the lady sitting to his left said that we will have to accept those comments - why do we have to?’’ she said.
“I still want a straight answer from the chairman as to why he needed to get the application through.
“What is the point of localism when the general public’s concerns are not listened to?
“As far as I’m concerned the way this application has been addressed from the beginning has just made a mockery of the planning system,” she added.
This week, the application went to committee on reserved matters (a more detailed plan of the original outline), so that members could look into the appearance, scale and landscaping of the proposed development.
Pulborough parish councillor, Dr Andy Tilbrook said that the parish objects to the application and raised the ongoing issue of overflowing sewage in the village.
He claimed that drainage systems have been ‘overwhelmed’ by two relatively new developments in the area.
Brian Donnelly (Con, Pulborough and Colwaltham) said: “All of the villages have been left with very ancient drains and the ownership is very cloudy.
“Southern Water said it wouldn’t be a problem, which hasn’t given people much confidence.”
The planning officer said the developer, Hanbury Properties Limited, will be creating an urban drainage system to tackle the problem.
Dr Tilbrook also objected that the scheme is too high, the access road from the A29 is too steep, and two pre-existing residential properties are shown in the wrong position on the plan.
George Cockman (Ind, Steyning) said the application was too good to lose, but there were too many ‘inaccuracies’.
He said: “There’s a lot of inaccuracies. It shows a carelessness which cannot be accommodated.
“We need to see a pristine form so we can scrutinise it again.”
The application was delegated for approval by members with three conditions to address sewage, landscaping, and to make sure that a patch of land on the proposed site is only used for formal recreational use so as not to disturb neighbouring homes.