Letter to Eric Pickles requesting that he call in the Causeway planning application New!

The Secretary of State has reserve powers to direct the local planning authority (East Herts District Council in this case) to refer an application to him/her for decision. This is what is meant by calling in a planning application.

Right Hon Eric Pickles,
Secretary of State,
House of Commons,
8 September 2011

Reference : App 3/10/1964/9 East Herts District Council Outline Planning Application By Henderson Global Investors Company - Old River Lane, Bishops Stortford, Herts

I am writing to you on behalf of the Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation which represents Residents Associations across the town embracing some 9000 dwellings. We understand that the above planning application will be referred to you by East Herts Development Control Committee for confirmation in relation to the Town and Country Planning (Flooding) (England) Direction 2007 before granting of the application can be made.

In your deliberations we would request that you give the following issues your consideration:

The Civic Federation would ask you to give serious consideration to these points and refuse to confirm the granting of this application.

Although the Civic Federation are extremely concerned that you should be aware of this situation, as soon as possible, we have serious doubts on the viability of the flooding prevention scheme being proposed. Also, we wish to draw your attention to other improper events surrounding the decision taken by East Herts Council to approve Henderson’s outline planning application to build on this conservation site.

We therefore believe the application should be called in for the following reasons:

The Officer’s Report glossed over a number of other breaches of the District Plan without justification. We draw to your attention to the main evidence listed below:

Secretary of State, I am sure you will recall your statement not to allow Local Councils to sell off car parks for development. In terms of surface parking, East Herts District Council has done just that, in a financial deal which not only sold the Council’s assets to Henderson at a cut down price, but also effectively guaranteed approval of Henderson’s planning application to build a massive development on the surface level car park. This deal has always been viewed with suspicion by the majority of residents of Bishops Stortford.

These suspicions were finally confirmed when East Herts Council executive member Councillor Tindale, who was instrumental in the sale of the Council’s assets, addressed the Development Control Meeting in Bishops Stortford on the 25th of August.

Councillor Tindale spoke directly to the Development Control Committee reminding members by way of a threat, that they had agreed in principle three years ago to this development, and because of this they were effectively obliged to let the planning application sail through.

Full details of what Councillor Tindale said at the meeting are reported in our local paper the Herts and Essex Observer; a copy is attached for your information.

Finally, on behalf of all our residents associations and the vast majority of local communities who oppose the scheme, we urge you to use the power of your office to call in this planning application in the interest of justice, fairness and local democracy.

Yours Faithfully,

Richard Hannah
Chairman, Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation

Copies To:
Mark Prisk- Member of Parliament
National Planning Casework Unit

Press cutting from Herts and Essex Observer Dated 1st September 2011