|Residents at the Preston Manor Primary School site|
Initially it did not inform most of the residents of the plans, and then organised a consultation meeting at a time when most of them were still at work. Its statutory notice documentation had to be revised three times due to inaccuracies and many of the planning documents on its website were so poorly scanned as to be illegible. Many questions raised by consultees were not answered in the expansion documentation that went to the Executive last week.
Damagingly the Council failed to make adequate searches ahead of the planning application and were taken by surprise when residents uncovered covenants that appeared to limit development of the site. The Council fast-tracked the planning application so that it will be decided on Wednesday February 23rd ahead of a decision on the statutory application on Monday February 28th.
When residents queried why a site visit had not been organised by the Planning Committee a visit was hastily organised for Saturday morning. However the committee turned up late on a rainy morning day and did not possess the right keys for the site. This had also happened previously at the site meeting for the temporary primary school building in Ashley Gardens. According to one resident who attended, councillors began to drift off halfway through the proceedings and residents were left fuming when the chair cut off the discussion prematurely.
Perhaps not the best way to win hearts and minds?