Kowtowing to developers

We read with interest the comments made by our local district councillor, Brian Donnelly (County Times July 19), regarding the refusal of planning permission for 550 houses in Billingshurst where he was reported as saying ‘the time is right to stop kowtowing to developers’, labelled the A29 as a goat track in modern terms and questioned the wisdom of turning villages into dormitories.

He is also reported as saying ‘I think we need to be far more robust in handling our appeals. We seem to be terrified of going to the High Court, and that if we go to appeal it will cost us – the dreaded bogeyman costs. What about the costs to the citizens of Billingshurst?’

What great and encouraging words and congratulations to Billingshurst for having this application overturned. However the first question that comes to mind is what on earth are our district councillors and their staff doing kowtowing to developers in the first place?

Secondly, we in Pulborough find Mr Donnelly’s comments most surprising considering what he said when an application for 103 houses in Pulborough was discussed in February at the development control (south) committee, where he couldn’t praise it enough and made comments such as ‘the applicants have spent enough money as it is and we should vote to approve this in order to prevent them having to spend any more going to appeal’.

If this isn’t kowtowing then I don’t know what is. And what of the dreaded ‘bogeyman costs’? Of course this was given as another reason to allow the application, so that HDC didn’t have to go to appeal.

Furthermore, Mr Donnelly has commented since the Billingshurst hearing that although that application was ‘easy to oppose’ due to issues with education provision, traffic and the large number of other developments the village has taken over the years, should the Pulborough application come before the committee again, he would still ‘have difficulty in opposing it’.

We find it disappointing that the committee couldn’t find it in themselves to take into account the same considerations as those expressed at the Billingshurst and Henfield applications when the Pulborough application was discussed, as the problems at all three locations are similar, and in fact, the Henfield and Pulborough applications are near identical in almost all respects (the Pulborough application is a stronger candidate for refusal as it results in the merger of two different settlements).

So, Mr Donnelly, please tell us why you are so keen to see the Pulborough application go ahead, see Pulborough become a dormitory village, kowtow to the developers and, for the village you are supposed to represent, what cost are you prepared to see the citizens (or should that be YOUR electorate) of Pulborough pay?


The Campaign to Protect Rural Pulborough Village, c/o Stane Street Close, Codmore Hill, Pulborough