Following on from the decision by the north planning committee on December 23 to 'redetermine' a decision made on December 9 to allow planning permission for a nursery, I am moved to describe Hillingdon's planning system a national joke [The Death of Democracy, Uxbridge Gazette, December 31].
On December 9, the north planning committee, faced with comprehensive report from officers, voted to allow a desperately needed nursery in Ickenham against the phalanx of opposition from a vocal group of Ickenham residents.
The council officers recommended a refusal but the evidence provided to refuse was wafer thin, and was completely destroyed when challenged by the nursery owner, her architect and diligent councillors.
I was present during the meeting and the unprecedented move to redetermine in these circumstances renders Hillingdon's planning system a national joke.
There are some serious questions which must be asked about this case. 1. What pressure was put on officers to refuse this application in the first place? 2. Why was the decision to determine the conditions and S106 not made outside the meeting with the Labour lead? 3. What pressure did the Ickenham councillors put on the committee chair to have this item redetermined? 4. What are the legal consecquences for the council over these shoddy processes?
The answers to these questions will reveal whether Hillingdon Council satisfactorily manages its planning department in a legal, democratic and accountable manner.
High Street, Uxbridge.