Following the Strategic Planning Committees decision to delay a decision on the four planning applications for land around Truro, one of the developers has decided to go to appeal. Marsh and Baxter who put in what is referred to as the Hendra application, have launched an appeal on the grounds of ‘non-determination’ – ie that the council had not made a decision within a specified time frame. The decision will now be made on behalf of the Secretary of State.
Now we would point out that we do not favour any of the four applications. Truro does not need this level of development.
There is also another issue, namely the way in which the planning system operates. Developers can, for a variety of reasons appeal and a decision is made by the Secretary of State rather than Cornwall Council. In some cases the developer may obtain costs against the Council.
This system is inherently undemocratic and forces councils to grant permission for fear of losing on appeal. It also gives developers numerous opportunities to get another bite at the cherry, something which is not afforded to opponents of a proposal.
The system is flawed and in urgent need of reform. What is to be done?
Opponents of a development proposals should be allowed the opportunity to appeal;
The number of times anyone whether a developer or opponent should be allowed to get a decision reversed should be limited;
A developer should not be granted costs if their appeal succeeds;
Appeals should be to a body in Cornwall, not the Secretary of State – to do this of course means we need a Cornish Assembly with teeth!