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Ford Enterprise Hub (FEH) response to the Arun Local Plan 2011-2031 Publication Version consultation

December 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Here is the Ford Enterprise Hub (FEH) representation to the Arun Local Plan 2011-2031 publication version, policies maps and sustainability appraisal consultation.

FEH representation Arun Local Plan 2011-2031 Publication Version Representation Form – part A

FEH representation 1 _Purpose of FEH representations_

FEH representation 2 _employment – Flood Zone 3_

FEH representation 3 _employment – wage levels_

FEH representation 4 _employment – connecting Bognor Regis to the SRN_

FEH representation 5 _relating to soundness_

FEH representation 6 _breach of natural justice_

FEH representation 7 _Cabinet Member for Planning attacks community on TV_

FEH representation 8 _bias in the dissemination of information_

FEH representation 9 _flawed public consultations_

FEH representation 10 _Eco Town Select Committee membership_

FEH representation 11 _duty to cooperate_

FEH representation 12 _brownfield land_

FEH representation 13 _sewerage and energy from waste_

FEH representation 14 _the Arundel setting_

FEH representation 15 _transport hub_

FEH representation 16 _housing delivery and strategic locations_

FEH representation 17 _access to from the A27_

FEH representation 18 _Cabinet manipulation of Local Plan sub committee_

FEH representation 19 _evidence withheld from Local Plan Sub Committee_

FEH representation 20 _delays to LDF and Local Plan_

FEH representation 21 _announcement of government funding for an Arundel Bypass_

Appendix 1 – Arun press release – Dismay at Eco Town announcement

Appendix 2 – Transcript of BBC Inside Out programme 24.09.08

Appendix 3 – Cabinet Member for Planning statement to Aldingbourne Parish Council 16.11.08

Appendix 4 -Cabinet Member for Planning apology to Cllr Mrs Briggs 16.11.08

Appendix 5 – Cabinet Member for Planning resigns – Bognor Observer 18.12.08

Appendix 6 – Derek Waller reference to blind copies

Appendix 7 – ICO warns Arun re future conduct

Appendix 8 – CAFE meetings schedule at Arun

Appendix 9 – VAG web site home page

Appendix 10 – Cllr Dr Walsh – Bognor Observer 24.04.08

Appendix 11 – Shadow Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government letter – August 2009

Appendix 12 – Resolve your own housing issues, Arun Cabinet Member tells Chichester

Appendix 13 – Notorious crossing will be replaced, vows chief

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Local Plan “based on political spite rather than sound planning solutions”

December 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Is it possible for a Local Plan to be based on political spite? That’s the claim of the opposition councillors and residents groups at Uttlesford, a district council that has just had their Local Plan thrown out by the Inspector.

Apparently £2 million has been wasted and the opposition councillors are suggesting that the leadership “should now consider their position as leading members of this council because they have failed the people of this district.”

See http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Inspector-s-rejection-Uttlesford-s-Local-Plan-10/story-25140769-detail/story.html

and http://www.hertsandessexobserver.co.uk/Demand-district-council-heads-roll-inspector/story-25152427-detail/story.html

 

 

Letter from Terry Ellis to Nick Herbert MP


Here is a letter from Terry Ellis of Littlehampton to Nick Herbert MP. It is, I believe, an excellent summary of public feeling on the Littlehampton side of the river. Nice one Terry!

“Dear Mr Herbert

Although we are not in your constituency, the Local Plan decision on housing will impact on Littlehampton, so we are seriously concerned regarding the proposed 2,000 houses in BEW, 600 in Angmering and a 1,000 in The West Bank. On behalf of many people who have signed to the aims and principles of the Littlehampton Community Charter, (some 2,000 individual signatures and 66 Groups, Societies and Traders in Littlehampton) would like to thank you for coming along to the ADC Full Council meeting in Littlehampton.

You will now be acquainted with the manner in which ADC takes into consideration the views of the Residents. We have for many months been trying to get ADC to hear and understand the views of the Residents of Littlehampton and feel very aggrieved at their handling of matters. Some of the matters are outlined below. As we do not appear to ever get anywhere, we are looking for assistance in this matter and felt that as you witnessed firsthand their attitude to this, that perhaps you can give us some guidance in how to tackle this District Council.

  • Their attitude to the Government’s localism opportunities is extremely bad as they simply pay lip service to it or just seem to ignore it. The manner and statements regarding the Localism Act, in which ADC is riding roughshod over Government legislated localism, is disgraceful.
  • I have said they are morally, intellectually and financially bankrupt and are funding everything by selling off piece by piece property and land in Littlehampton. They want to sell the Town’s Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre off. They want to sell off the Windmill Theatre and Cinema Centre. They want to sell of the Town’s main car park, St Martin’s, to private developers. They originally wanted to sell of part of Norfolk Gardens for housing development. They want to claw back and sell land run by Littlehampton’s Sunnyfield Caravan & Camping site, making it commercially unviable. It just goes on.
  • They NEVER seem to listen or even hear what our two local MP’s say.
  • They NEVER consult with the people of Littlehampton – so how do they claim to represent us.
  • One other problem is coming to mind, when asking questions at Council meetings they never answer the question, merely trot out a reply that suits them and makes them look good and as there are never any chances to ask supplementary questions at that meeting, they know they can get away with it.
  • They will not attend open meetings where the Residents can debate with them.
  • Ham and River Ward in Littlehampton Ham suffer from serious deprivation, which is among the worst in the South East.
  • ADC cancelled The Windmill Inspire Leisure Cinema provisions, after a request by ADC for Inspire Leisure to reduce costs, this was against the wishes of the people and it is only due to the efforts of the people that we have the cinema re-opened.
  • ADC under the current leadership has taken over 9 years to implement a Local Plan and still has not done so. Part of that plan is the St Modwen scheme, which will include a Multiplex Cinema, we were at meeting of East Preston Parish Council where the Chair of ADC stated that Littlehampton is included in the catchment area for this Multiplex. It is not the same as having a Cinema in Littlehampton and is a fob-off against the development on the existing Windmill site.
  • Has allowed the regeneration of Bognor Regis to develop into a farce with no substantive decisions after 6 years and been prepared to let this continue year on year.
  • Ruined the Littlehampton Neighbourhood Plan, with a last gasp intervention with the Independent Examiner, and still refuses to have this matter sorted out so we have a Neighbourhood Plan.
  • Against the wishes of the people ADC has stated that they were keeping the Swimming Pool Land and the Sportsdome Land to ‘Develop’.
  • Tried to close down the Bowling Green and Tennis Courts at Maltraver’s Park.
  • Not have any communication with the Traders regarding the Pier Road work.
  • ADC are trying to cram in houses in the Wick area, on an already developed site, against the wishes of the local residents and Littlehampton Town Council.

We seriously need assistance in dealing with this District Council and your advice would be welcomed, now that you have seen them in action.

With best regards

Terry Ellis, Littlehampton

Cllr Mrs Brown & Cllr Bower Local Plan does not have the backing of the Conservative Group!


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This “exit poll” has been passed to me by a member of the public in attendance at last night’s meeting (see below). It shows the voting on the Barnham, Eastergate and Westergate strategic allocation.

It has been double checked against the web cast and so we believe it to be accurate.

Conservative Cabinet Members in favour of the BEW strategic allocation = 6 (no surprises there!)

Conservative backbenchers in favour of the BEW strategic allocation = 11

Conservative backbenchers who did not support the BEW strategic allocation = 19 (against & abstentions)

Lib Dems in favour of the BEW strategic allocation = 4

Lib Dems opposed to the BEW strategic allocation = 1

Labour opposed to the BEW strategic allocation  = 2

Independents in favour of the BEW strategic allocation = 2

This means that the Local Plan, as it stands does not command a majority in Arun’s Conservative Group.

It means that Cllr Mrs Brown and Cllr Bower, the architects of the Local Plan, do not have the backing of the Conservative Group. 

None of the Littlehampton Town councillors supported Cllr Mrs Brown and Cllr Bower.

It means that the Cabinet does not have the backing of the Conservative back benchers.

It means that Cllr Mrs Brown and Cllr Bower only got their plan through with the support of Lib Dem and Independent councillors.

See here for the “exit poll”. Voting on 1a Villages Housing

Cabinet Office has recommended that Arun District Council should initiate a new OJEU process


Following an investigation through its mystery shopper scheme (an informal investigatory service for suppliers and other interested parties who have concerns about the conduct of a procurement process), the Cabinet Office has recommended that Arun District Council should initiate a new OJEU process with regard to the Bognor Regis regeneration proposals.

The cabinet Office said:

“Many thanks for bringing the Bognor Regis Town Centre development agreement to our attention. 

On the basis of the information you have provided we have discussed your concerns with Arun District Council, who have informed us that the development agreement has been extended to 31 December 2014 and that they are continuing to explore a number of options.  

Cabinet Office has subsequently recommended that a new OJEU process should be initiated, and the Council’s representative has confirmed that they will make all officers and members dealing with the matter aware of this recommendation.”

This is the text of two e-mails from Tony Dixon to the Cabinet Office:

E-mail sent to Cabinet Office 26th December 2013

Sirs

I am concerned that Arun District Council is in breach of the OJEU directives on public procurement.

I raised this with DCLG and they advised that, after consultation with colleagues in the Cabinet Office,  the best way for me to raise this matter was through the Mystery Shopper channel, which, I am advised is open to the public.

DCLG also advised me that I can raise an infraction complaint with the EU commission, which I will also do.

Arun District Council, awarded a contract to a developer called St Modwen in 2006. The value of the winning bid was over £100 million.

Since then the project has been substantially changed from the original winning bid and Mr Tim Seddon of St Modwen advised Full Council in November that the project was now valued at £25-£40 million.

This is a substantial deviation from the winning bid and I am concerned that it constitutes a breach of the OJEU directives.

I have attached:

a) The original invitation to tender

b) The contract award notice

Could you please investigate this matter.

I would appreciate it if you could acknowledge receipt of this complaint.

Yours sincerely

E-mail sent to Cabinet Office 4th January 2014

Dear Stephen

Many thanks for your response.

I understand your scope and remit much better now and fully understand why it is not possible to consider such a matter through both routes.

I would like to request that the Cabinet Office does investigate this matter through the mystery shopper route, and so, to facilitate this, I have written to the EU to withdraw my infraction complaint.

I want to take this opportunity to expand my concerns a little more:

As you are already aware, I am concerned that Arun District Council may be in breach of the OJEU directives on public procurement. The council awarded a contract to a developer called St Modwen in 2006. The value of the winning bid was over £106 million.

Since then the project has been substantially changed from the original winning bid and a representative of St Modwen advised Full Council in November that the project was now valued at £25-£40 million. (You will see that the figure debated in the council minutes is £40 million. In fact, the figure quoted by St Modwen was £25-£40 million and that is what was reported in the Bognor Observer on November 14th 2013). See here for the minutes http://www.arun.gov.uk/mediaFiles/downloads/74685092/Minutes_Special_Council_061113.pdf

At the Special Full Council in November the council voted to extend the period of the development agreement for another year, in the full knowledge that the scheme is now valued substantially lower. It has, in essence, accepted the £25-£40 million figure.

This is a substantial deviation from the winning bid and I am concerned that it may constitute a breach or infraction of the OJEU directives.

I want to draw your attention to a Freedom of Information request on whatdotheyknow.com – see https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/communications_re_enquiry_from_d#incoming-464117 . and to comment as follows:

The council’s Senior Regeneration/LSP Manager, in internal correspondence, states that “… the basic elements of the scheme are the same, but without all the flashy add-ons …”. That would value the “flashy add-ons” at somewhere between £66-£81 million! This is “spin” to disguise the fact that something like 86% – 69% of the scheme is being removed.

In the FOI information the council advises DCLG of the consultations it has undertaken, but does not make it clear whether this was for the £106 million “winning bid” or the scheme now reduced by £66-£81 million. I am concerned that the final scheme cannot possibly be close to the scheme the council has already consulted on and that the council may now be using those consultations inappropriately to justify a much smaller scheme.

I note from the FOI correspondence that DCLG has stated “it is not the role of DCLG to intervene in local matters. It is very important that local authorities act independently of central government …” I assume that is why DCLG has suggested the mystery shopper channel instead.

Kind regards

Tony Dixon said in a statement today;

“The fact that the Cabinet Office has recommended that Arun District Council should initiate a new OJEU process with regard to the Bognor Regis regeneration proposals clearly calls into question Arun’s conduct in this public procurement process.  

I call on the council’s leader, Cllr. Mrs Brown, to accept full responsibility and resign.”

This is a warning to all communities preparing a Neighbourhood Plan

March 9, 2014 2 comments

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After spending many months developing their Neighbourhood Plan residents in Littlehampton have just had a nasty shock! After submitting their plan to Arun District Council it was subsequently submitted and approved by the Planning Inspector.

But guess what …

It is now alleged that Arun effectively removed a key clause in the plan designed to protect the town’s current leisure sites – and without consulting all stakeholders.

LTC’s web site says: “Arun District Council in a representation to the examiner outside the formal arrangements for commenting argued that to ‘enable the relocation of the leisure centre they need to retain the appropriate flexibility on possible uses in order to assist the funding of the new facility’. In other words they want to be able to redevelop the site. This representation was not shared with everyone until after the examiner’s report had been circulated. The examiner accepted this late representation by ADC and has recommended the removal of the restriction of use for leisure purposes”

The clause in question was designed to ensure that, in the event of the Littlehampton Swimming and Sports Centre being relocated to elsewhere in the town the site would be preserved for leisure use only.

Obviously, the stakeholders in the Neighbourhood Plan can no longer recommend it to their residents and, if it were to go through to referendum, they would be put in the position of opposing the very document they helped to create!

… and then, as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, Cllr Mrs Brown, leader of Arun District Council said:

“This is very positive news for the residents of Littlehampton who have been involved throughout the process of creating this Plan. However, it is very disappointing for local residents that Littlehampton Town Council have yet to agree to the examiners recommendations.  This will delay the opportunity for residents to have their say as the referendum will have to be postponed.”

You see how it works now – Arun have amended the document but it is all the fault of the Town Council that the referendum will now be delayed whilst it takes legal advice.

As usual Cllr. Mrs Brown accepts no responsibility herself, merely seeking to attach the blame to others.

Terry Ellis of Littlehampton put it succinctly in a letter in this week’s Littlehampton Gazette when he said: “In an exercise of sheer effrontery, she tries to blame our town council for the reason ‘it has yet to agree to the examiners recommendations’… The delay is due to Arun’s attempted manipulation and intervention in our plan. It is not the town council trying to be perverse – it is merely trying to protect our town from the rapacious desires of Arun, and by the way, with our support.”

Only one thing is certain and that is that Arun’s Conservative Group will do what they do best – they will look the other way!

Together forever and never to part?

February 16, 2014 Leave a comment

At Full Council on 11th February 2014 the following public question was put to the Leader of the council:

“The Local Plan is a shambles. It seems to me that this is a direct result of poor political leadership. 

It has taken over 9 years for a partial plan to finally emerge and be put before Full Council tonight – and, of course, with all the difficult decisions left for another 6 months, or more. 

Does the Cabinet Member with responsibility for spatial planning still have your full confidence?”

The Leader responded:

“I certainly don’t agree with your comments about the Local Plan at all. But I’m very happy to confirm that Councillor Bower has my full confidence.”

I am reminded of that old Rick Astley classic, which goes something like this:

Together forever and never to part
Together forever we two
And don’t you know
I would move heaven and earth
To be together forever with you

When you’ve all stopped singing there is, however, a serious question here:

As we know, the Leader and Cabinet Member have both held their respective offices for almost 8 years.

My understanding is that the Cabinet Member and his officers play a leading role in developing the Local Plan and its policies and that, it is the role of the Local Plan Sub Committee to scrutinise/amend any proposals coming forward before recommending them to Full Council.

Apart from a short time when the Cabinet Member was forced to resign from the Local Development Framework Sub Committee (and subsequently unresigned!) he has acted as either Chairman or Vice Chairman of the LDF or Local Plan Sub Committee – that’s for a period of almost 8 years!

Is it sound practice for any Leader to allow the political architect of a Local Plan to, in essence, also lead the scrutiny of his own work?