Planning changes are ‘disgraceful’

NEIGHBOURS will no longer be notified personally about planning applications in their area if new proposals by Daventry District Council (DDC) get the go ahead.

The authority is aiming to save £10,000 per year with changes to its planning process, which have been labelled ‘disgraceful’ by Daventry Town Council (DTC).

DDC has already stopped sending paper copies of planning applications to parish and town councils in order to make savings, with all plans now only available to view online.

And the council is now considering proposed changes to its statement of community involvement, which would mean individuals would no longer receive written notification of planning applications involving neighbours.

Instead there will be site notices posted in ‘relevant areas’ such as on lampposts and notice boards.

At a DTC planning meeting last week Cllr Glenda Simmonds said: “These changes will cut off parishes and I just think it’s a very bad move.

“Not every parish council has access to the internet or an overhead projector and you can’t always see plans properly on a computer screen.”

Cllr Mark Wesley added: “I think this is a disgraceful idea. It can’t be saving an awful lot of money and doesn’t have any benefits for any for the parishes or people of the Daventry district.”

And Cllr Maureen Luke said: “This is not proper democracy and seems to be the opposite of what the Government is currently trying to do, as people will have less of a say about what goes on in their community.”

DDC is currently consulting parish councils about potential changes to the way people are informed about planning applications.

Chief executive Ian Vincent said: “We encourage applications in electronic form, which is recommended by Government, and paper is now becoming obsolete, environmentally damaging and expensive.

“Regulations state that local planning authorities can notify neighbours in writing or by putting up a site notice.

“We are proposing to stop notifying neighbours in writing.”