In breach of the council's own plan

WHY did the 25,000-plus respondents to the restoration of the Tropicana petition and the hundreds who wrote objections to the planning department not find one member on the planning committee representing their view? Is this democracy Cllr Ap Rees? Set o

WHY did the 25,000-plus respondents to the restoration of the Tropicana petition and the hundreds who wrote objections to the planning department not find one member on the planning committee representing their view? Is this democracy Cllr Ap Rees? Set out in the replacement North Somerset Local Plan are rules concerning planning in sensitive areas. With regard to the Tropicana North Somerset Council has ignored Policy ECH/3 of the plan that specifies that development in conservation areas will not be permitted unless it is compatible with its surroundings or locality in terms of height, scale, massing, layout, landscaping, and materials. English Heritage has confirmed this proposal is in breach of the council's own plan on a number of different levels. This hypocrisy is all rather sad. There are so many unanswered questions in this sordid business.Planning guidance states that when considering proposals for development involving demolition of a building that makes a positive contribution to the character or appearance of a conservation area there will be a presumption in favour of retention. English Heritage and 25,000 individual respondents would and do describe the Tropicana building as 'iconic' for Weston. National planning guidance PPG15 provides for a general presumption in retaining valued buildings such as this in conservation areas. Why is Henry Boot, the developer, exempted to this legislation?Why has the planning officer not used the guidance in PPG15 and Policy ECVH/3 of the North Somerset Local Plan? This plan applies to all equally and is sufficient to throw this proposal out. Why has Henry Boot been subject to an exemption by the planning department?The Dolphin Square debacle is another example of a developer calling all the shots. In Dolphin Square the council is now renegotiating on the developer's terms. Dolphin Square was built in recent years amid the same arguments made for the Tropicana site, i.e. adherence to the 'Zoo of the New', and now seems a very sorry mistake. This whole business beggars belief.We seem to have one set of rules for North Somerset Council and its crony developer chums and another for the rest of us. I think we should all mourn the passing of common sense and decency while these councillors remain in charge. If they are not speaking for us, then who is?M D FOSTER - Ashcombe Road, Weston


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