Couldn’t resist bringing readers up to date on this one:
From: Anne Jarvis
Sent: Wed, 20 Feb 2013 10:18
Subject: lord conyers planning appeal
I am in receipt of your reply (undated) to my email of 3rd January 2013 regarding the Planning Inspectorate Appeal Hearing. I was fully aware of the history of the application, and although dis-satisfied with the outcome my concerns were more to do with the actions or in-actions of RMBC.
You state in your reply that ‘The officer recommendation to Board was that the demolition of the building was acceptable in this instance as it had been proved that it was not economically viable to retain or convert the building.’
Yet the very same Officer recommending demolition had on the 29th Nov 2011 stated in his role as Conservation Officer that ‘the building represents a significant heritage aspect for the Wales Conservation Area as part of a link to its past’
See attachment *peckjpg (1.4MB) Below.
Since when has it been the duty of RMBC to ensure a developer who has overpaid for a building ‘turns a profit’? There would appear to be a ‘conflict of interest’ in the Officer holding two roles within the Planning Department.
You state that English Heritage have responsibility for the listing of buildings. The Borough Council can ask them to consider listing and given the Conservation Officer’s report of Nov 2011, I would have thought that this would have been a logical step for the Borough Council to have taken.
If the Borough Council had pursued the retention of The Lord Conyer’s Arms as being an integral part of the Wales Conservation Area and refused demolition under the Conservation status, the planning application would not have had any chance of succeeding.
The Inspector states ;
‘The Council refused the applications for conservation area consent and
planning permission, which are the subject of these appeals, for a single reason
relating to the provision of inadequate information with the applications to
justify the demolition of the existing building’
You say ‘you are satisfied that the Officer representing the Council substantiated the reason for refusal’
How you are able to make that assertion when the planning department have failed to promote the Conservation of Wales Square and after writing a report for retention they then fail to take action to ‘conserve’ at which point the proposed planning application for houses would have been academic.
the Inspector further states;
Members (Refs. RB2012/0852 and RB2012/0851), no additional expert advice
was sought. Hence the refusals relate to generalised concerns, unsupported by
substantial evidence either in writing or other form, with no detailed objective
I am at a loss as to how this equates with your statement :’The Planning Officer who represented the Council at this Hearing is a qualified and experienced officer, who is the lead officer in the Council for Conservation matters, and I therefore cannot accept your criticism in relation to the representation at the appeal’.
It would appear to the layman that there is implicit criticism in the Inspector’s statement and that your ‘qualified and experienced officer’ did little to support members decision.
Under the heading VENUE of your reply you state;
In this particular case the Planning Inspectorates admin team did request that the Hearing be held at Riverside House, although the Council could have requested that it be held an alternative venue. I have asked that in the future the Council gives consideration to the suitability of other venues closer to the application site.
I wrote to the Inspectorate quoting your reply to me and asked for clarification of your assertions. Find attached (2179568 reply to Mrs J) a letter from the Inspectorate in total contradiction of your reply. Indeed had the Inspectorate requested the venue be at Riverside House they would have been contravening their own guidance. P.I. Advise & Equality Act 2010. Guidance which RMBC chose to ignore. Wales has a perfectly adequate village hall with all facilities required by the public and the inspectorate within 1/4 of a mile of the subject of the appeal.
It would seem to me that someone is adept in the art of lying.
The Officer’s and member’s of the Planning department and committee have failed in their duty to protect our local heritage. For what reason can only be left to the imagination!
I wonder just how much of Rotherham’s heritage you are willing to sacrifice in the pursuit of profit, either yours or the developers who you seem to favour over local heritage, Herringthorpe playing field and Stubbin Lane are they next on RMBC’s hit list?