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Have Your Say

ARG has retired and is now off-line; thanks for your loyal support over the decade.

The Have Your Say and News pages will remain accessible as an archive for a short time.

No. Date Posted Posted By Comment
7017 Tue 28 Feb 2017, 23:59 ARG That's all folks....thanks for your support; we couldn't have done it without you.
7016 Tue 28 Feb 2017, 23:22 Cllr Simon Thomas Four Marks 7008 Dave whilst I understand your frustration and lack of planning policy expertise, I can assure you that I am far from niaive and certainly not daft. I am a hard nosed campaigner and now Parish Councillor - with multiple successes (and failures) over eleven years in getting applications refused. As Fight4FourMarks and FM Council Planning Committee, we have long list of applications big and small refused by EHDC due to us working with EHDC Councillors and Officers, persuading them on applicable planning based reasons to refuse. In a dozen cases the Inspectirate dismissal see the developers appeals, and in one High Court dismissal a Developers judicial review. In other cases appeals were upheld and permission given by the Inspector. In yetvothers we could not persuade EHDC to refuse, usually as there were no planning reasons. i fully agree with your view of government policy but not that just about all applications will be successful - across the EHDC District the stats show it is not the case. It will surprise you that EHDC Councillors made specific funds available to contest refusal appeals during the pre Local Plan period. The facts contradict your claim that cash strapped councils are now terrified to reject any plans in fear of legal action. I, my wife, and two other campaigners became District and Parish Councillors and from inside the system have influenced both individual application decisions, and a number of EHDC policies and processes. We have also tried to make our MP support at government policy changes, but so far no luck there.
7015 Tue 28 Feb 2017, 23:01 Cllr Simon Thomas Four Marks 7006 & 7007 Yes, the key word is, indeed 'sustainability' which I gave campaigned about for a decade, but it is the Inspectorate and DCLG definition that matters not ours. I fully agree that it is wrong, but it is what we and EHDC have to deal with. Even when the Parliamentary Inquiry was held, and evidence and conclusion found that NPPF was not fit for purpose, the DCLG ignored it and kicked it into the long grass. I gave verbal and written evidence to that Inquiry in Westminster, along with a number of Campaign groups from all over England, CPRE, etc - so have direct experience of how the whole system actually works. Also as you say the Government withdrew the 'Lifetime homes' standard. However that is not an Outline decision issue so not involved with Cadnam. It was at Reserved Matters stage byvwhen ut had been withdrawn. You have to get the facts right. As for declining the developer request or withdrawing permission EHDC had no choice in that or face not only legal costs but also a substantial claim for commercial damages, as has happened elsewhere in a case that was undefendable.
7014 Tue 28 Feb 2017, 21:46 Tanya Applegath It has nothing to do with the colour of your rosettes Robert, I think it is generally that they people who currently give their time to help the town can not take much more on, and other people don't want to commit to something. I struggle to get people involved in the Alton Matters stuff, and without support things cannot proceed, yet people are quick to moan things do not get done. P.S Thank you ARG
7013 Tue 28 Feb 2017, 21:04 Cllr Robert Saunders So, I recently posted an offer on Love Alton and Alton Matters (Facebook) to donate the whole of my councillors grant for the year in April to a shop local/business promotion initiative. I had one tentative offer to be part of the team. What else can I do?? Is it because I wear a blue rosette at election time, am I tainted? Adieu ARG HYS X
7012 Tue 28 Feb 2017, 19:42 ARG Penny, AEWRA are party to these liaison meetings and the minutes should be available on their website when they are published. ADRA might also be interested in including them on their new website, shortly to go live. As ATC are also at the meetings they should also be posting up the minutes.
7011 Tue 28 Feb 2017, 19:40 Penny Webster-Brown This countdown thing is making me nervous...
7010 Tue 28 Feb 2017, 19:33 Penny Webster-Brown #7009 Where will we be able to see notifications for the Miller Homes Liason Committee in future please?
7009 Tue 28 Feb 2017, 16:50 ARG The minutes from the latest meeting of the Miller Homes development liaison panel are available here. The date of the next meeting is Friday 17th March. If you have any issues to raise with the developer after we close down, contact either our colleagues at AEWRA or your ward town or district councillor. In addition, EHDC will be sending residents adjacent to the Miller development a letter outlining the various avenues (with contact details) for pursuing complaints about activities on or adjacent to the site. Miller Homes have also undertaken to keep residents informed during the different phases of the development and the types of work being undertaken.
7008 Tue 28 Feb 2017, 13:17 Dave Simon, re yours at #6997, "you have to fully engage to get any impact on local planning decisions". You must be either naive or just daft if you believe that is true. The government is so desperate to build houses that it has effectively told the big property developers (many of whom fund the Conservative party) that they (the government) will make it so difficult to oppose planning applications that just about all applications will be successful. Cash strapped councils are now terrified to reject any plans in fear of legal action. This sadly means they have to ignore the concerns of local residents. That's it in a nutshell. I used to live in Singapore and there the government just does what it wants, if it decides to build a block of flats at the end of your garden it just does it and people accept it. In Britain we treasure our "democracy" so we all go through the silly process of objecting to and then debating planning applications when in reality we all know the developer will get just about everything he wants. So maybe we should stop wasting time and money on the planning process and just let the planning officers sign applications off - we reach the same end point but much more quickly.
7007 Tue 28 Feb 2017, 11:40 Jonathan Hughes 7006. Yes, the key word is, indeed, 'sustainability'...yet the Cadnam developers were able to slide out of their commitment to 'Lifetime homes' (on which outline planning permission was granted) at the last moment. The appropriate EHDC response should have been to decline the developers' request and, if necessary, withdraw permission. [I know that the government changed the rules, but that was after the outline permission was granted.]
7006 Tue 28 Feb 2017, 10:44 Bill Griffin Simon, re yours at #6997. I agree with ARG at #6999 that everything you say is a true summary of the constraints within which LAs must function, loading the dice heavily in favour of developers. However, in my view nobody has ever tried fully to implement the basic requirement of NPPF, which is that developments should be SUSTAINABLE. NPPF defines sustainability, which includes supporting infrastructure, and NPPF also identifies what this infrastructure should cover, and this includes, for example, provision of health care. We now have over 1000 houses coming to Alton, and nobody has a clue whether this NPPF requirement in terms of health care will be met - not the first idea. Which is why I have always said that EHDC has approved these developments whose sustainability is unknown and therefore EHDC is in contravention of NPPF. On a related subject - development of the brewery site. Presumably production of the Developers' Brief was a voluntary collaborative activity between Molson Coors, EHDC and ATC, and one can see the utility of such a document. However, the final draft was grossly to the benefit of MC's coffers in terms of housing numbers, which meant that it was to the considerable detriment of Altonians. We have more than our fair share of housing already approved. So why did ATC sign up to the final draft? If ATC truly represent the interests of Alton people, they should have walked away from it. So, on the face of it, here was an activity unconstrained by legal requirements, threats of appeal and anything else you identified at #6997, and yet we still had town councillors failing to act in the best interest of those they represent. Probably my final "toot" on HYS, so an opportunity to say thank you to Tony and others who have kept this valuable resource going over all these years. ARG was founded as an outraged response to the idea of a supermarket on the Bass sports ground - doesn't that all seem a long time ago!
7005 Tue 28 Feb 2017, 09:52 Jonathan Hughes News item 732 - What a smoke screen!...ostensibly fine sentiments obscuring the brutal reality.
7004 Tue 28 Feb 2017, 07:45 ARG The Government has responded to the petition to which ARG and others were signaturees – “Give communities back the right to decide where houses are built.” The response is very interesting and is relevant to many of the observations about the planning system articulated here: "We (the government - ARG) do not believe a right of appeal against the grant of planning permission for communities is necessary. It is considered that communities already have plenty of opportunity to have their say on local planning issues, and it would be wrong for them to be able to delay a development at the last minute, through a community right of appeal, when any issues they would raise at that point could have been raised and should have been considered during the earlier planning application process." You can read the reasoning around this statement in our news item (732). Click here to view the response online. The Petitions Committee will take a look at this petition and its response. They can press the government for action and gather evidence. If this petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the Committee will consider it for a debate.
7003 Mon 27 Feb 2017, 23:52 Gill Cooper Many thanks to all who have helped to upkeep this site - it has been a great forum, and a wealth of information for some of us who are 'less connected' with local politics/planning matters etc. I have made both some good friends and a few 'enemies' while venting my frustrations about ATC on here - and feel far better informed because of it. It was such sad news to lose your 'webmaster', and probably tiring for all the other administrators on here. Thank you, and well done for your achievements.
7002 Mon 27 Feb 2017, 20:42 Nicky Branch, Chairman, Alton Society My thanks to the ARG team for a few years of un-missable information and debate. As one who lives in the hinterland of Bentworth, this website made me feel connected to the day-to-day concerns and realities of life in Alton. As a DC for Alton Westbrooke, I set up the Alton Matters blogsite with Melissa Maynard, and we did sterling work until she was appointed to Cabinet!I wish I could continue something similar- maybe someone else will ?
7001 Mon 27 Feb 2017, 18:48 Terry Eccott . 6999 well said ARG I agree 100% HYS/ARG will be badly missed, even if you did not win most of the battles you were a constant thorn in the sides of ATC and EHDC, for that alone you should be thanked. Thank you Tony for standing up and being counted.
7000 Mon 27 Feb 2017, 18:09 TonyS Well done AEWRA, items 3&4 on your agenda are very timely, not say somewhat overdue and many residents will be very interested in the outcome.
6999 Mon 27 Feb 2017, 18:01 ARG #6997 Simon, all true of course but you seem too casually to dismiss the passion and despair of the people railing against the planning system as being ill-informed and unrealistic. We have gratefully benefited from the insight into the machinations of the planning process that your familial EHDC connection gives you but it also must prejudice your comments to some extent. Most of us understand the constraints officers and DC's are under but the system is not working for local residents who are taking a hit from this blunt, inelegant housing policy and no-one seems to be doing anything about it. The cynicism and despair that it's generated has been very damaging to the idea of both that much-touted idea of 'localism' and the notion that ordinary citizens can have any influence on a dysfunctional and unfair planning system.
6998 Mon 27 Feb 2017, 17:03 AEWRA (via email) We meet this Thursday 2nd March from 7pm at the Alton Buckle Building Let us know if there is anything you would like to add to the agenda Agenda 1. Approval of minutes of last meeting. 2. Matters arising 3. Proposal to formaly request of the Potfolio holder for Alton (Cllr Dean Philips) to report his objectives 4. Proposal for Cllr. David Orme be formaly invited to address the meeting to dispel members fears of flooding from the hills above the Town predicted by the Environment Agency 5. Updates; Traffic, Flooding, Planning 5. AOB Please remember that we are organising a Litter Pick on Saturday 4th March - meeting at 10am at the rear entrance of Alton Infants School.



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