LEVERINGTON: Failure to declare brother's council membership did not ""materially alter" decision
FENLAND Council says a developer s failure to declare on a planning application that his brother is a senior Cabinet member did not materially alter the outcome which was to approve the scheme for 16 new homes. But council officials could offer no expla
FENLAND Council says a developer's failure to declare on a planning application that his brother is a senior Cabinet member did not "materially alter" the outcome which was to approve the scheme for 16 new homes.
But council officials could offer no explanation as to why Trevor Skoulding or his agent ticked 'No' on the part of the application which asked if either is related to "any member of staff or elected member of the council." The applicant's brother is Councillor Peter Skoulding, the portfolio holder for finance.
The application was signed by David Trundley of David Trundley Design Services of Tilney All Saints who agreed "my name is at the bottom of the sheet but I was unaware of the false declaration."
A council spokesman said of the application- to demolish 55 The Chase, Leverington, and build 16 new homes- that "any planning application submitted by a relative of a member of council staff, or of a councillor, automatically goes before the planning committee for determination.
"Whilst on this occasion it appears the correct box highlighting a family link was not ticked by the development company's agent, it has not materially altered the final planning decision as the application went before the planning committee."
The spokesman added that if the application had been agreed under delegated powers "then there would have been a question which would have needed to be answered."
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However neighbours who fought to stop the development - put forward by Trevor Skoulding on behalf of his recently formed East Anglian Developments Ltd company-believe the new homes threaten 200 year-old nearby woodland and numerous trees on the site of the proposed new homes.
They also argue that an application a year ago for three homes north of 35 and 37 The Chase - rejected by planners and upheld on the appeal- should have prevented development on the scale now proposed.
One neighbour told me: "The planning inspector ruled that the main issues in that case were the effects of the proposal on the character and appearance of the area and the living conditions of nearby residents. This is many times worse for us and yet it's been approved."
However the council says it would be wrong to compare like with like "since each application is determined on its individual merits."
And the council also says a tree preservation order for the site is being revised and has not been dropped although this was not made a clear in a recent letter to residents from their legal department.
Chris Dawson, a director of East Anglian Developments, said a meeting with council officials was planned for next week to discuss trees on the site.
He said his company was concerned to protect as many trees as possible and indeed had only acquired the site from the previous owners on the basis of protecting them.
"Without management the site won't be as attractive as it is," he said.