Planning change ‘petty and silly’

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A district councillor has slammed a decision he says will make it harder for towns and parishes to have a say over planning applications on their doorstep.

Last week’s meeting of Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) voted through achange to its planning process.

Planning applications are referred to the local town and parish council for comment.

Until now, if a town or parish council disagreed with the view of AVDC’s planning officer, the application was referred to the development control committee.

But now this will only happen if the town or parish is prepared to send someone to address the committee meeting in Aylesbury.

District and town councillor Robin Stuchbury said: “They didn’t seem to understand that parish and town councils care passionately about their local area. We’re going to have to weigh up the cost of objecting.”

He said town and parish councillors are volunteers, many of whom work and could not attend the meeting.

Mr Stuchbury said the town council could have to pay up to six hours of an officer’s time, to speak for five minutes.

He said: “I think it’s petty and silly. It’s a retrograde move at a time the government is saying they embrace localism.It may save the district council money but it’s going to cost the town council money which we havent precepted for.”

An AVDC spokesman said training sessions would be organised for town and parish councils and the new arrangements would be reviewed after six months.