TDC councillors were warned. Warned by officers at the council. Warned by Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. Warned by us. Warnings galore.
Warned about what? Warned that failure to produce an evidence-based Local Plan would result in intervention in our local planning affairs. We elect local representatives to do exactly that, represent us and make local decisions in the best interests of local people. What that doesn’t mean is populism. What that doesn’t mean is decision-making by gut instinct or emotion. What that doesn’t mean is politicking in one’s own interest or narrow party political interest. It means looking coolly and calmly at the evidence before you and acting accordingly. TDC councillors rejected that approach, against the advice of officers, and were warned that their responsibilities, as given to them by the electors of Thanet, could be taken from them meaning that decisions about our local communities could be taken by outsiders at either regional or national level. Cheers for that.
So Javid says “In summary, …the District COuncil resolved to reject the recommendation of officers to publish the draft Local Plan and is therefore failing to meet its deadline for publication of a Plan, in accordance with your published Local Development SCheme.” NOte: “reject the recommendation of officers”
He goes on to say ” The District Council’s argument to justify this failure sets out two inter-related circumstances – the local debate over the future of Manston Airport and the need to undertake further work to identify alternative sites after the Plan failed to proceed. I consider that these are not exceptional circumstances….”.