Friday, August 14, 2009

Tescos East Area Committee date set

It has been confirmed that a special East Area meeting to discuss the potential options for dealing with Tesco's announcement that they intend to ignore the planning condition on deliveries when they open their new store will take place on:

Thursday 20 August 10.00 (presumably 10am - its not 100% clear...)
St Phillips Church
185 Mill Road

A formal agenda will be published on Monday.

Still no date set yet for a briefing for Councillors on the issue - I am yet to have the benefit of knowing what advice the Council has taken to date about this issue, what it thinks are the options, along with what it thinks are the relative merits of each option, or even why the Council thinks East Area Committee is the right place to take any decisions. In fact, the Council is still deciding whether or not it can give us a briefing at all before the meeting - possible legal issues apparently - (How did that episode of Yes Minister finish up in the end...)

As a random aside - if you are a large organisation thinking of pulling a fast one on the local planning department, I can highly recommend August as the month to try it on...


Ruth said...

...or July, seemingly, since this has now been grinding on for over a month. Am I right that the EAC has no delegated enforcement powers and no power to spend money, so that it couldn't actually authorise startnig the process of an injunction, should it decide that it wished to do so? And any idea why, if this had to be referred to a committee, it wasn't referred to the Planning Committee, as the Council's enforcement procedures document states is the correct procedure?

Chris Howell said...

All excellent questions that I'd love to know the answer to. I have requested that an Executive Councillor who does have the power to spend money is invited to the committee, and it sounds like the relevant one is also on holiday, so the leader may get involved.

I understand there will be some form of public question time or representations, but any discussion at all by Councillors of legal options is likely to be in closed session. I will be pushing for at least some officer reporting to be done in the open part of the meeting.

Richard Taylor said...

There's a full planning committee meeting on the 19th - the day before the special East Area Committee. The council's rules are unclear on public speaking rights at a planning meeting when the question doesn't relate to a specific application under discussion. It might be worth trying to ask there what powers the East Area Committee has, and what the council's doing with respect to an injunction. If the council is prepared to enforce planning conditions or not is an important question affecting the city as a whole. The planning committee chair may well not allow a public speaker unrelated to a specific application though but that doesn't mean it's not worth having a go.

Cllr Howell - can you see if you can ensure that the East Area Committee doesn't just go into secret session - but that it only does so after a vote, and after reasons have been given?

Lastly - 10 am doesn't sound like a great time for enabling the greatest number of people to attend.

Chris Howell said...

Hi Richard - I hope to clarify some of the issues around public speaking rights and what needs to be in private session next week - I have already asked that as much as possible is held in open session, but there clearly are some issues that can't be discussed in public or it would harm the Council's position.

The meeting time maybe the best we can get at short notice - there was already any outcry from Councillors when the first dates circulated were with 48hours of Tescos planned opening.