York Evening Press
York YO1 9YN
21 March 2005
The Planning Rules
I sympathise with (name removed) frustration at the inaccuracies in Connaught Court planning application (YEP18 March). There has been a similar catalogue associate with the various applications for the Germany Beck proposal.
When I spoke to the councilís law officers I discovered that developers are not legally responsible for any inaccurate statements and analysis in their application. This is an extraordinary omission. There is no sanction on a developer when they make a claim that is wrong so the temptation to bend the facts is risk-free.
Furthermore, when factual errors are revealed, the developer does not have to amend their application. So the current application for Germany Beck calls into question whether a battle took at Fulford ( ".. the so-called battle of Fulford") . The fact that English Heritage has written to the planning authorities to correct this ridiculous claim does not appear in the document which provides the basis for the planning application.
A developer can also be selective in what they choose to report. The Germany Beck proposal does not include any analysis of the economic benefit to the community of a major national attraction that the site of a battlefield from 1066 represents. Because this is not in the developerís application, the financial loss of destroying this site will not be considered.
The only good news in this sad saga of the planning system is that it is elected members who make the final decision. However, for the system to work, our councillors must be given accurate and complete information by developers and informed opponents.
The present planning rules do not serve our community well.