Planning free for all in Suffolk Coastal

Suffolk Coastal residents are facing a planning free for all after the council failed to adequately assess the need for housing in the district, leading to an adverse decision by the planning inspectorate.

The decision, in Framlingham, says that Suffolk Coastal had no reasonable explanation for failing to publish an up to date assessment of the number of homes needed for the next five years, and therefore the planning inspector found that the council’s ability to supply enough developable land for sufficient housing was unsound. 

National planning policy requires councils to show this supply, and where they can’t any policies which seek to restrict development are given less weight in the decision making process. Another case in Suffolk Coastal, which the council is now taking to the Supreme Court, expanded the list of policies which seek to restrict development beyond merely housing policies in the council’s Local Development Framework, to include any policy which could restrict development.

Tony Fryatt, who is the Cabinet Member for Planning on the east coast authority, told the BBC Radio Suffolk breakfast programme that he wasn’t worried by the decision, as the world has changed and thousands more houses would now be needed by East Anglian devolution. While that may be true, it actually makes the situation worse, not better, and his laissez faire attitude leaves Suffolk Coastal communities completely unprotected from inappropriate development.

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UKIP leaflet pledges councillor would introduce Australian immigration system

UKIP-leaflets

I received a UKIP leaflet through my door this week, and it confused me, so I asked if they could clarify some things for me.

“I note the leaflet is your Borough Council election leaflet. I therefore wondered if you could explain to me which department of the Borough Council will be responsible for providing an Australian-style, points based migration system to slash the volume of immigration and end the undercutting of wages of British working people, your top pledge to Sprites Ward residents.

“Perhaps you could also explain to me how much Ipswich Borough Council spends on Foreign Aid.

“I’d hope that you would be able to explain to me which department of the Borough council is responsible for NHS spending, and which department can guarantee armed forces veterans jobs in the border force, prison service or police?

“I note on the “local issues” you are campaigning on, you suggest that IBC has offered to sell the land to SCC at a discount. I was at the meeting when the offer was made, but I have checked my notes and find no suggestion that it would be at a discount. Indeed IBC has a legal duty to obtain the best value for the land possible, so it would be at it’s full value.

“I also note that the issue with parking is not a Borough Council issue but one instead for Suffolk County Council. Your push for a “unitary Ipswich” is commendable, but again not something the Borough Council can do on its own, it needs the County Council to agree and the Government to put forward the legislation. Your third local issue is again a transport issue, which is the purview of the County Council.

“I am also concerned about your fourth and final local issue – the only one on the entire leaflet that deals with something that the Borough Council actually has responsibility for. You say you would “put Ipswich council tenants first, above all others.” Does this mean that I, as a council tax payer but private tenant, would be discriminated against in the provision of all services throughout the council if you get your way? Why should council tenants get preferential treatment? What sort of preferential treatment would they get? Would roads with council tenants on them get swept more often? Would they be given discounts at IBC owned leisure facilities? How would this be funded?

Dear Reader, you may have concluded that I am distinctly unimpressed with this leaflet, which promises many things that are nothing to do with the Borough Council. Indeed I might have suggested that the UKIP candidate, who is also Constituency Chairman, could do some research into what the Borough Council actually does before next year’s IBC elections.

But don’t let that fool you. Thousands of people will have read that leaflet and be completely unaware that the Borough Council has no responsibility for Immigration or for employing people in the Prison Service. It is utterly dishonourable to stand for election based on pledges that you cannot hope to fulfil. It is precisely the sort of thing that got Nick Clegg into deep trouble with the student voters over tuition fees. Surely we should all expect better from those who seek to lead our town, district or country?