Sometimes bureaucracy drives me round the bend. I’ve got used to aspects of silliness since becoming Councillor for Heathlands, but this week takes the biscuit.
Planning is an overly bureaucratic nightmare, I swear designed to make life as awkward for everyone as possible with absolutely no common sense filter applied.
Law dictates that there has to be a statutory consultation period, designed to ensure that a minimum amount of time passes to allow interested parties an opportunity to respond to a planning application. This period is 21 days. All well and good and I support that. WBC officers have always allowed for representations to be made right up to the decision point for delegated applications, or the day the report is published for applications due to come to the Planning Committee. In theory this can provide several months to respond even though the notifications will state an end date of the statutory period. This always leads to confusion as residents believe they have to respond by that date.
This scenario has manifest itself here, with the statutory end date for one application being Boxing Day and the other New Years’ Day. I’ve no idea who will be responding to these applications in this time frame as I certainly won’t. I wish the statutory dates could be modified to something that actually makes sense. Having had a meeting with planning officers yesterday, it genuinely is a ‘computer says no’ situation.
What I have done, is seek agreement from the project team that there will be a road show in Brookwood where the project team will be on hand to answer questions and explain the proposals. This is an excellent opportunity as the proposals are not fixed until the application is granted. The date is not fixed yet, but is likely to be in the first week of February in a 16:00 to 20:00 time slot.
This application isn’t going to be determined before the end of March I suspect as it is a major application. That being the case, we can expect representations to be received until at least the end of February, plenty of time after the road show. Ignore the statutory dates and the planning portal which follow the bureaucratic processes.
I will keep you posted.