Whittingham is second parish council to declare "no confidence" in Preston City Council’s planning department

A second parish council has declared it has no confidence in Preston City Councils planning department.
A second parish council has declared it has no confidence in Preston City Councils planning department.
Have your say

A second parish council has declared it has “no confidence“ in Preston City Council’s planning department.

Members of the village authority in Whittingham met on Monday night to discuss whether to lodge the motion.

They follow in the footsteps of Broughton Parish Council which declared “no confidence” in planners at the city council in January.

READ MORE: Broughton village says it has ‘no confidence’ in Preston City Council planners

The motion submitted by parish councillors states: “Whittingham Parish Council has no confidence in Preston City Council planning department to undertake their statutory duties, as a result of badly flawed city council planning policy.

“For this reason the council’s planning committee cannot make effective judgements based on advice from officers.

“The parish council considers the current local plan as not fit for purpose because the five year housing supply criteria, outweighs all other planning considerations in the local plan, including sustainability, so that a fair and balanced judgement on planning grounds cannot be made.

“The parish council also considers the planning consultation process with the local community - including the parish council - as not fit for purpose, as the views of the local community are effectively ignored again because of the five year housing supply criteria outweighing all other issues.

“The parish council also deplores the decision to extend the time for the adoption of the new local plan until 2022 for reasons as yet unspecified.”

Deputy interim chief executive officer of PCC Neil Fairhurst said: “Preston City Council’s planning department is staffed by highly experienced and fully qualified individuals, in whom I have complete confidence. As we have said before, planning is an incredibly complicated matter that is easy to criticise and misunderstand. It is a heavily regulated system based upon national policy which, in the council’s view, is in great need of reform by Central Government.

"When there is not a five year supply of housing, Government Planning Policy makes it clear that 'planning permissions should be granted unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits'. Due to national policy, the Council cannot apply its own local polices. This is incredibly frustrating, but recent appeal decisions made by government-appointed inspectors have supported this approach.

"In the absence of national policy change, the only way to shift the balance of decision-making is to review the local plan, which we have begun to work on in partnership with neighbouring Central Lancashire authorities.

"While I appreciate the frustrations of members of Whittingham Parish Council, this notice of motion undermines our long-standing working relationship and is unfair to the hard-working team who deliver incredibly complex work to a high standard.”