Cherwell Link Autumn 2016 carried this article. KDW's Alan Lodwick was not amused....."What I have found particularly galling are the quotes from the Clr Colin Clarke claiming the benefits of this development "
The flaws in Clr Clarkes' comments
In our view Cherwell's decision making process lacked objectivity. This article confirms that their thinking is flawed and they are trying to put a positive spin on an appalling decision. KDW replies:
- Admit the massive local objections to the the hight and design of the plan
- To claim an 'affordable housing benefit' claim is bizarre. CDC have allowed the developer to get away with providing far fewer than their planning policy requires
- No amount of 'public art' will could hide this massive eyesore proposal
- Likewise the claim to improve the High Streets character. Reducing the amount of retail space is more likely to send shoppers elsewhere -and have the opposite effect
Kidlington Parish Council Concerns
KPC held a special meeting to discuss the situation on Thursday 13th October. We learned that they have taken legal advice and have written to alert Cherwell council that they are considering a judicial review claim. They have also commissioned an independent overview of the viability report.
At the time of writing formal planning approval has not yet been issued. There is time to challenge the decision. KPC feels obliged to consider this, despite the cost implications for Kidlington tax payers who potentially would have to foot the bill for losing a legal case.
I attended the meeting and was extremely impressed with the strength of the councillors resolve to carry on pursuing the matter.
Grounds for judicial review?
Had the Council refused the application then the developer would probably have appealed. An independent planning inspector would then decide if planning permission was appropriate. We have rehearsed the multiple points of policy that were overlooked or loosely interpreted by the planning officer who recommended acceptance many times. Here let us consider the process followed on the day.
- Taking such a contentious decision at the August meeting favoured the developer. Many regular councillors were on holiday and this impacted Kidlington particularly
- Neither of the Kidlington councillors were able to attend.
- Neither of their deputies were allowed to attend in their place 'because they had not yet completed the training requirements'
- The planning committee vote was only tied because a 'stand in' member voted for development
- It would have only taken that one additional vote to refuse the application!