More experienced staff needed to avoid Peel Hall errors - report states

More experienced staff needed to avoid Peel Hall errors - report states

More experienced staff needed to avoid Peel Hall errors - report states

First published in News

MORE experienced members of staff are needed at Warrington Borough Council’s planning department following the ‘basic mistake’ over Peel Hall.

A report into the errors, seen by the Warrington Guardian this afternoon, makes three recommendations - chiefly to increase the numbers and experience of staff.

It follows the council missing a 13 week deadline during which it should have heard the application by developers Satnam to build 150 homes on the land - close to Houghton Green.

The report, by chief executive Steven Broomhead at the request of leader Clr Terry O’Neill was released to councillors today, Tuesday.

It says: “Firstly, Professor Broomhead has confirmed that the appeal essentially makes no difference to the ability for the council to make its views felt or to local residents’ views being heard.

“This planning application will be heard by the council’s development management committee in March. At that meeting it will then be up to those elected members whether they find the application acceptable or not.

“Secondly, Professor Broomhead confirms that the planning application should have been determined within the 13 week prescribed period, that it wasn’t is the result of several factors set out below:

1. The council’s development control service is mid-way through an extensive change and improvement process.

2. There are still some capacity issues in the department and an issue regarding the levels of experience in the team to deal with such important applications. This is however being addressed and a new head of development control has recently started with us.

3. The service has been dealing with some very complex and high-profile planning issues in recent weeks eg Omega and Arpley Tip.

4. Sometimes complex planning applications do take longer than 13 weeks to process and in such cases the council can agree an extension of time with the applicant. This was not done properly in this case and this may have allowed Satnam to appeal which was an administrative oversight.”

Professor Broomhead’s recommendations are as follows: “Firstly, the planning improvement board should urgently explore ways to immediately enhance the capacity and levels of experience in the development control service.

“Secondly, that the newly appointed development control manager immediately seeks to improve the service’s case management approach particularly in relation to requests for extensions of time.

“Thirdly that the new manager will work with the council’s internal audit service to review all the service’s basic administrative processes to ensure that they are robust, fit for purpose and are compliant with current regulations.

“The over-running of such major and sensitive planning applications should only be exceptional and I am concerned that such a basic administrative mistake has occurred in this case.

“The energies of the planning team should now be the on-going improvement of this valuable and important service.”

Meanwhile it is understood Mr Broomhead and Clr O'Neill have been asked for the issue to be discussed at the next council meeting on March 4.

 

Comments (36)

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5:53pm Tue 12 Feb 13

Nick Tessla says...

So the solution offered by Broomhead to his mate O'Neill is to increase the amount of OUR money that we spend on this disgrace of a department.


By "more experienced" I assume he means more expensive - it does raise the question as to whether any professional who would be willing to be associated with WBC planning is the sort of individual you would want to recruit.


I assume by "experienced" he doesn't mean experienced at covering up.


If the current members of staff are incapable of doing their jobs then, by all means, replace them - but not increase the headcount.
So the solution offered by Broomhead to his mate O'Neill is to increase the amount of OUR money that we spend on this disgrace of a department. By "more experienced" I assume he means more expensive - it does raise the question as to whether any professional who would be willing to be associated with WBC planning is the sort of individual you would want to recruit. I assume by "experienced" he doesn't mean experienced at covering up. If the current members of staff are incapable of doing their jobs then, by all means, replace them - but not increase the headcount. Nick Tessla
  • Score: 0

7:09pm Tue 12 Feb 13

Karlar says...

With due respect to Prof Broomhead it is the ethos, not the "energies" of this "valuable and important service" that have to change if trust is to be restored. That department currently has at least two experienced principal planners who know only too well unprofessional and unlawful actions have taken place and yet continued unconcerned over the consequences and misled residents with shameful consequences. The energies of this valuable department have frequently been misdirected to the extent events have been allowed to develop instead of being controlled by proactive planning. Were this the first instance of mismanagement we might empathize with Prof Broomhead’s conclusion, but the department has a long, too long a, history of failure. Replacement of personnel, not additions to those already in place is what is urgently required.
With due respect to Prof Broomhead it is the ethos, not the "energies" of this "valuable and important service" that have to change if trust is to be restored. That department currently has at least two experienced principal planners who know only too well unprofessional and unlawful actions have taken place and yet continued unconcerned over the consequences and misled residents with shameful consequences. The energies of this valuable department have frequently been misdirected to the extent events have been allowed to develop instead of being controlled by proactive planning. Were this the first instance of mismanagement we might empathize with Prof Broomhead’s conclusion, but the department has a long, too long a, history of failure. Replacement of personnel, not additions to those already in place is what is urgently required. Karlar
  • Score: 0

7:30pm Tue 12 Feb 13

Out of Warrington says...

Sounds to me like a similar situation that is going on at local authorities across the country, staff cut backs and inexperienced staff expected to deal with issues they are not qualified for.

Welcome to the age of austerity, low council tax = decreased levels of service and more issues like this.
Sounds to me like a similar situation that is going on at local authorities across the country, staff cut backs and inexperienced staff expected to deal with issues they are not qualified for. Welcome to the age of austerity, low council tax = decreased levels of service and more issues like this. Out of Warrington
  • Score: 0

7:36pm Tue 12 Feb 13

wa1 resident says...

It would seem that prof broomhead doesn't agree with cllr Barr's brush off where cllr barr claimed that it comes with the territory in planning and that memory loss is an acceptable reason for failings and for the pedalling of inaccurate data
It would seem that prof broomhead doesn't agree with cllr Barr's brush off where cllr barr claimed that it comes with the territory in planning and that memory loss is an acceptable reason for failings and for the pedalling of inaccurate data wa1 resident
  • Score: 0

11:03pm Tue 12 Feb 13

comwgn says...

Strikes me Broomhead should be called whitewash.
director Peter Taylor and Farrell should both be dismissed as they have perpetrated this current situation when they identified Peel Hall as a possible site for housing despite all the prior objections. This is not the only doubtful planning mess they have supervised, so Broomhead is completely wrong in his claims.
They have perpetrated this mess and whilst it is unclear if they themselves will profit, their incompetence and arrogance is intolerable.
Get out now all of you
You are a disgrace to the town.
Strikes me Broomhead should be called whitewash. director Peter Taylor and Farrell should both be dismissed as they have perpetrated this current situation when they identified Peel Hall as a possible site for housing despite all the prior objections. This is not the only doubtful planning mess they have supervised, so Broomhead is completely wrong in his claims. They have perpetrated this mess and whilst it is unclear if they themselves will profit, their incompetence and arrogance is intolerable. Get out now all of you You are a disgrace to the town. comwgn
  • Score: 0

11:27pm Tue 12 Feb 13

Paris says...

Incompetent!
Incompetent! Paris
  • Score: 0

12:24am Wed 13 Feb 13

Billy Porter says...

Meh. It all sounds a bit "we're crap and we know we are". Oh, and we were VERY busy too.

Not good enough.
Meh. It all sounds a bit "we're crap and we know we are". Oh, and we were VERY busy too. Not good enough. Billy Porter
  • Score: 0

9:31am Wed 13 Feb 13

grey_man says...

Does this report mean we need more planners like John Earle, who applied all his experience to feeding planning records through a shredder? Or was he too busy to remember what the law required of him?
Does this report mean we need more planners like John Earle, who applied all his experience to feeding planning records through a shredder? Or was he too busy to remember what the law required of him? grey_man
  • Score: 0

10:32am Wed 13 Feb 13

Billy Porter says...

Heh.

Mike Davies is leading on this application, I would think he's experienced enough to have spotted the response deadline.

I rang the planning department last week and the reasons I was given for the failure was that:

1) it is a very complex application and needs a lot of attention to detail

2) we were waiting for reports from other (WBC) departments

neither of which are mentioned in Mr Broomhead's findings.

This struck me though: "...the appeal essentially makes no difference to the ability for the council to make its views felt or to local residents’ views being heard."

If what's being said here is that it doesn't matter that the planning department haven't done their job properly, do we really need them?
Heh. Mike Davies is leading on this application, I would think he's experienced enough to have spotted the response deadline. I rang the planning department last week and the reasons I was given for the failure was that: 1) it is a very complex application and needs a lot of attention to detail 2) we were waiting for reports from other (WBC) departments neither of which are mentioned in Mr Broomhead's findings. This struck me though: "...the appeal essentially makes no difference to the ability for the council to make its views felt or to local residents’ views being heard." If what's being said here is that it doesn't matter that the planning department haven't done their job properly, do we really need them? Billy Porter
  • Score: 0

10:51am Wed 13 Feb 13

Muskrat says...

Mike Davies is the principal planner that managed the Marton Close scandal. The LGO summary being,


The Ombudsman’s investigation discovered a number of failures in the way the Council handled the issues of vehicular access to the site, the renewal of planning permission, the enforceability of planning conditions attached to the planning permission, and the taking of enforcement action.

In addition to the maladministration of destroying statutory records, the Ombudsman found the Council had acted with maladministration in:

having no record of the plans it approved in 1997
approving an application to renew the planning permission in 2002 when the plans submitted were incompatible with conditions imposed in 1997
failing to consider and apply Government guidance and perpetuating a condition that was unenforceable
failing to act on the assurances it gave to the residents of the cul-de-sac, making incorrect and misleading statements about permitted development rights, disregarding the legitimate expectations it raised for the residents
failing to record reasons for officer decisions not to take enforcement action, and
providing incorrect and misleading information to the Planning Control Committee when it considered the report from the Neighbourhood Police Inspector.

Of note Mike Davies has been employed at least 20 years for the LPA.
Mike Davies is the principal planner that managed the Marton Close scandal. The LGO summary being, The Ombudsman’s investigation discovered a number of failures in the way the Council handled the issues of vehicular access to the site, the renewal of planning permission, the enforceability of planning conditions attached to the planning permission, and the taking of enforcement action. In addition to the maladministration of destroying statutory records, the Ombudsman found the Council had acted with maladministration in: having no record of the plans it approved in 1997 approving an application to renew the planning permission in 2002 when the plans submitted were incompatible with conditions imposed in 1997 failing to consider and apply Government guidance and perpetuating a condition that was unenforceable failing to act on the assurances it gave to the residents of the cul-de-sac, making incorrect and misleading statements about permitted development rights, disregarding the legitimate expectations it raised for the residents failing to record reasons for officer decisions not to take enforcement action, and providing incorrect and misleading information to the Planning Control Committee when it considered the report from the Neighbourhood Police Inspector. Of note Mike Davies has been employed at least 20 years for the LPA. Muskrat
  • Score: 0

11:40am Wed 13 Feb 13

grey_man says...

So while Mike Davies was working on Marton Close, was he too inexperienced and busy to mention the destruction of the planning record to councillors?
So while Mike Davies was working on Marton Close, was he too inexperienced and busy to mention the destruction of the planning record to councillors? grey_man
  • Score: 0

12:08pm Wed 13 Feb 13

Samantha1000 says...

Reading the quote from the LGO above Mr Davies also had no record of the plans he approved in 1997 when re approved Marton application when it was renewed in 2002. He failed to spot that the plans submitted were incompatible with conditions imposed in 1997. He failed to consider and apply Government guidance and perpetuated a condition that was unenforceable. Also he
failed to act on the assurances he gave to the residents of the cul-de-sac, making incorrect and misleading statements about permitted development rights, disregarding the legitimate expectations it raised for the residents.

Clearly he has not improved since the scandal of Marton Close.

I might add a quick trawl of the WG archive, or Google, comes up with many more of his mistakes!
Reading the quote from the LGO above Mr Davies also had no record of the plans he approved in 1997 when re approved Marton application when it was renewed in 2002. He failed to spot that the plans submitted were incompatible with conditions imposed in 1997. He failed to consider and apply Government guidance and perpetuated a condition that was unenforceable. Also he failed to act on the assurances he gave to the residents of the cul-de-sac, making incorrect and misleading statements about permitted development rights, disregarding the legitimate expectations it raised for the residents. Clearly he has not improved since the scandal of Marton Close. I might add a quick trawl of the WG archive, or Google, comes up with many more of his mistakes! Samantha1000
  • Score: 0

12:08pm Wed 13 Feb 13

Dustin says...

grey_man wrote:
So while Mike Davies was working on Marton Close, was he too inexperienced and busy to mention the destruction of the planning record to councillors?
He was not the only one who should have but did not mention the missing records to councillors for four years. Are we expected to believe they were all too busy for all that time? Too busy on what? How can a principal planner be so inexperienced as to make a such basic mistake? Has this one reached his Peter principle level? If you root around and look closely enough at what's out there you will find there was whole lot he did not mention and some that he did which was definitely misleading.
[quote][p][bold]grey_man[/bold] wrote: So while Mike Davies was working on Marton Close, was he too inexperienced and busy to mention the destruction of the planning record to councillors?[/p][/quote]He was not the only one who should have but did not mention the missing records to councillors for four years. Are we expected to believe they were all too busy for all that time? Too busy on what? How can a principal planner be so inexperienced as to make a such basic mistake? Has this one reached his Peter principle level? If you root around and look closely enough at what's out there you will find there was whole lot he did not mention and some that he did which was definitely misleading. Dustin
  • Score: 0

12:27pm Wed 13 Feb 13

Samantha1000 says...

Sorry doesn't add up. In any employment there are pieces of work that come along that are clearly top of the pile and extra attention is given to them. Peel Hall has been a hot topic for a long time. I just don't buy it that it was overlooked. Also as it has been said before, every time there is a 'mistake', the developer benefits. Now unless Mike Davies & the LPA have a penchant for negative press, there has to be something in it for them? This is where is gets serious. There is something very wrong with this Council.
Sorry doesn't add up. In any employment there are pieces of work that come along that are clearly top of the pile and extra attention is given to them. Peel Hall has been a hot topic for a long time. I just don't buy it that it was overlooked. Also as it has been said before, every time there is a 'mistake', the developer benefits. Now unless Mike Davies & the LPA have a penchant for negative press, there has to be something in it for them? This is where is gets serious. There is something very wrong with this Council. Samantha1000
  • Score: 0

12:41pm Wed 13 Feb 13

cookie1974 says...

All hear from Steven Broomhead here is "blah blah blah, stop asking questions, blah blah blah, not going to hold any one accountable, blah blah blah" FFS grow a pair Broomhead and sort this f****** mess out.
All hear from Steven Broomhead here is "blah blah blah, stop asking questions, blah blah blah, not going to hold any one accountable, blah blah blah" FFS grow a pair Broomhead and sort this f****** mess out. cookie1974
  • Score: 0

1:05pm Wed 13 Feb 13

grey_man says...

Samantha1000 wrote:
Sorry doesn't add up. In any employment there are pieces of work that come along that are clearly top of the pile and extra attention is given to them. Peel Hall has been a hot topic for a long time. I just don't buy it that it was overlooked. Also as it has been said before, every time there is a 'mistake', the developer benefits. Now unless Mike Davies & the LPA have a penchant for negative press, there has to be something in it for them? This is where is gets serious. There is something very wrong with this Council.
Be great to hear from anybody, including councillors, about how many of this department's now routine 'mistakes' hamper the cause of developers rather than help them.
[quote][p][bold]Samantha1000[/bold] wrote: Sorry doesn't add up. In any employment there are pieces of work that come along that are clearly top of the pile and extra attention is given to them. Peel Hall has been a hot topic for a long time. I just don't buy it that it was overlooked. Also as it has been said before, every time there is a 'mistake', the developer benefits. Now unless Mike Davies & the LPA have a penchant for negative press, there has to be something in it for them? This is where is gets serious. There is something very wrong with this Council.[/p][/quote]Be great to hear from anybody, including councillors, about how many of this department's now routine 'mistakes' hamper the cause of developers rather than help them. grey_man
  • Score: 0

1:07pm Wed 13 Feb 13

old-codger says...

Out of Warrington says...
7:30pm Tue 12 Feb 13

Sounds to me like a similar situation that is going on at local authorities across the country, staff cut backs and inexperienced staff expected to deal with issues they are not qualified for.
Welcome to the age of austerity, low council tax = decreased levels of service and more issues like this.”

BRAVO...WELL SAID..
Out of Warrington says... 7:30pm Tue 12 Feb 13 Sounds to me like a similar situation that is going on at local authorities across the country, staff cut backs and inexperienced staff expected to deal with issues they are not qualified for. Welcome to the age of austerity, low council tax = decreased levels of service and more issues like this.” BRAVO...WELL SAID.. old-codger
  • Score: 0

1:10pm Wed 13 Feb 13

Nick Tessla says...

old-codger wrote:
Out of Warrington says...
7:30pm Tue 12 Feb 13

Sounds to me like a similar situation that is going on at local authorities across the country, staff cut backs and inexperienced staff expected to deal with issues they are not qualified for.
Welcome to the age of austerity, low council tax = decreased levels of service and more issues like this.”

BRAVO...WELL SAID..
Nothing to do with austerity - boom or bust the Planning Department is a disgrace.
[quote][p][bold]old-codger[/bold] wrote: Out of Warrington says... 7:30pm Tue 12 Feb 13 Sounds to me like a similar situation that is going on at local authorities across the country, staff cut backs and inexperienced staff expected to deal with issues they are not qualified for. Welcome to the age of austerity, low council tax = decreased levels of service and more issues like this.” BRAVO...WELL SAID..[/p][/quote]Nothing to do with austerity - boom or bust the Planning Department is a disgrace. Nick Tessla
  • Score: 0

1:25pm Wed 13 Feb 13

Dustin says...

Nick Tessla wrote:
old-codger wrote:
Out of Warrington says...
7:30pm Tue 12 Feb 13

Sounds to me like a similar situation that is going on at local authorities across the country, staff cut backs and inexperienced staff expected to deal with issues they are not qualified for.
Welcome to the age of austerity, low council tax = decreased levels of service and more issues like this.”

BRAVO...WELL SAID..
Nothing to do with austerity - boom or bust the Planning Department is a disgrace.
Absolutely on the nail Nick. This sort of thing has been going on for years and years. Everytime it is brushed aside with one feeble excuse after another. It is no wonder mismanagement continues to happen - strangely always in favour of developers - because no one is ever taken to task. It is always explained away as "just a little botch up". This has nothing whatsoever to do with budgets or cutbacks but everything to do with incompetence and the continued tolerance of it.Remember this sort of things was the norm in WBC before cutbacks were cosidered. Both reports from Prof Boomhead have shown he is very willing to excuse the most basic mistakes from experienced staff. It really is time this council drew a line in the sand and woke up to the fact that those in charge are failing to do what they are paid high salaries for.
[quote][p][bold]Nick Tessla[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]old-codger[/bold] wrote: Out of Warrington says... 7:30pm Tue 12 Feb 13 Sounds to me like a similar situation that is going on at local authorities across the country, staff cut backs and inexperienced staff expected to deal with issues they are not qualified for. Welcome to the age of austerity, low council tax = decreased levels of service and more issues like this.” BRAVO...WELL SAID..[/p][/quote]Nothing to do with austerity - boom or bust the Planning Department is a disgrace.[/p][/quote]Absolutely on the nail Nick. This sort of thing has been going on for years and years. Everytime it is brushed aside with one feeble excuse after another. It is no wonder mismanagement continues to happen - strangely always in favour of developers - because no one is ever taken to task. It is always explained away as "just a little botch up". This has nothing whatsoever to do with budgets or cutbacks but everything to do with incompetence and the continued tolerance of it.Remember this sort of things was the norm in WBC before cutbacks were cosidered. Both reports from Prof Boomhead have shown he is very willing to excuse the most basic mistakes from experienced staff. It really is time this council drew a line in the sand and woke up to the fact that those in charge are failing to do what they are paid high salaries for. Dustin
  • Score: 0

7:24pm Thu 14 Feb 13

SAC_in_Warrington says...

Out of Warrington wrote:
Sounds to me like a similar situation that is going on at local authorities across the country, staff cut backs and inexperienced staff expected to deal with issues they are not qualified for.

Welcome to the age of austerity, low council tax = decreased levels of service and more issues like this.
Well, they have to gain experience somehow. The contemporary training methods seems to be; punish them until they get it right or the inexperienced are seen training the inexperienced.
[quote][p][bold]Out of Warrington[/bold] wrote: Sounds to me like a similar situation that is going on at local authorities across the country, staff cut backs and inexperienced staff expected to deal with issues they are not qualified for. Welcome to the age of austerity, low council tax = decreased levels of service and more issues like this.[/p][/quote]Well, they have to gain experience somehow. The contemporary training methods seems to be; punish them until they get it right or the inexperienced are seen training the inexperienced. SAC_in_Warrington
  • Score: 0

10:14pm Thu 14 Feb 13

grey_man says...

SAC

The guy responsible for the Marton Close scandal and screwing up Peel Hall has 25 years experience.

The guy who decided to unlawfully destroy the planning record was the head of planning.

This is not a question of experience. At best it is a question of incompetence. At worst somebody needs to answer why all of the mistakes favour developers.
SAC The guy responsible for the Marton Close scandal and screwing up Peel Hall has 25 years experience. The guy who decided to unlawfully destroy the planning record was the head of planning. This is not a question of experience. At best it is a question of incompetence. At worst somebody needs to answer why all of the mistakes favour developers. grey_man
  • Score: 0

10:39pm Thu 14 Feb 13

wa1 resident says...

And you get cllr Barr accepting he has forced incorrect stats on the public, using this false information to help ensure approval in matters which may not have been approved based on fact. The Experience comment is an attempt to distract from the very real failings, often from individuals with more than enough experience to do and say the right thing but for reasons known to them they choose not to.
And you get cllr Barr accepting he has forced incorrect stats on the public, using this false information to help ensure approval in matters which may not have been approved based on fact. The Experience comment is an attempt to distract from the very real failings, often from individuals with more than enough experience to do and say the right thing but for reasons known to them they choose not to. wa1 resident
  • Score: 0

11:13am Sat 16 Feb 13

SAC_in_Warrington says...

In my considered opinion and in order to progress with this issue, I think that a line needs to be drawn in the sand and obviously there is an urgent need to take a fresh look at the structure of Warrington Borough Council. The planning issues are becoming a roundabout of blame and counter blame and argumentative discussions that will not serve as any form of justice. The Marton Close scandal has ended and undoubtedly there are lessons to be learnt from this and they have been recorded and highlighted in several reports. We will of course need Warrington Borough Council’s reassurances that they have or are being dealt with. Some of the issues that are clearly repeated within the Peel Hall planning fiasco are also contemporary to the Marton Close scandal and thus require Warrington Borough Council to again reassure us that the appropriate action has been or is being taken.

I understand fully that the proposed redevelopment at Peel Hall is part way through a process and is now committed to a certain path through the planning procedures. I believe that there is still an opportunity to protest for and against the possible and yet to be decided outcomes.

Some of the disciplinary action, if not all, will quite reasonably be kept private and confidential. Therefore there is little sense or reason to pursue it further in a public domain because a null result will be forthcoming.

Come on councillors step up in this situation and please push for honest scrutiny of Council business. I also urge you put some determined effort in, because you will undoubtedly need to come together and have some cross party agreements for any viable retribution to result and some much need restoration of public trust in Warrington’s Borough Council, particularly concerning this and other serious issues!
In my considered opinion and in order to progress with this issue, I think that a line needs to be drawn in the sand and obviously there is an urgent need to take a fresh look at the structure of Warrington Borough Council. The planning issues are becoming a roundabout of blame and counter blame and argumentative discussions that will not serve as any form of justice. The Marton Close scandal has ended and undoubtedly there are lessons to be learnt from this and they have been recorded and highlighted in several reports. We will of course need Warrington Borough Council’s reassurances that they have or are being dealt with. Some of the issues that are clearly repeated within the Peel Hall planning fiasco are also contemporary to the Marton Close scandal and thus require Warrington Borough Council to again reassure us that the appropriate action has been or is being taken. I understand fully that the proposed redevelopment at Peel Hall is part way through a process and is now committed to a certain path through the planning procedures. I believe that there is still an opportunity to protest for and against the possible and yet to be decided outcomes. Some of the disciplinary action, if not all, will quite reasonably be kept private and confidential. Therefore there is little sense or reason to pursue it further in a public domain because a null result will be forthcoming. Come on councillors step up in this situation and please push for honest scrutiny of Council business. I also urge you put some determined effort in, because you will undoubtedly need to come together and have some cross party agreements for any viable retribution to result and some much need restoration of public trust in Warrington’s Borough Council, particularly concerning this and other serious issues! SAC_in_Warrington
  • Score: 0

9:58pm Sat 16 Feb 13

stupot0041 says...

The problem is that this corruption is since years so well established and widespread. There are a lot of people here with their fingers in the pie and they are afraid to really get to the bottom of this as a lot of fingers will get burnt so they will issue one statement after the other to pretend to look into it knowing or hoping that after enough time the public interest will slowly decline.
DON'T GIVE UP and don't accept the insulting and patronising fob-offs such as "it is a complex issue".
The problem is that this corruption is since years so well established and widespread. There are a lot of people here with their fingers in the pie and they are afraid to really get to the bottom of this as a lot of fingers will get burnt so they will issue one statement after the other to pretend to look into it knowing or hoping that after enough time the public interest will slowly decline. DON'T GIVE UP and don't accept the insulting and patronising fob-offs such as "it is a complex issue". stupot0041
  • Score: 0

7:37pm Sun 17 Feb 13

grey_man says...

SAC

What we should all have a problem with is having the council tell us that a man with 25 years' in the job is too inexperienced to even do the most basic things with the borough's most contentious planning issue. I don't believe it for a minute, especially when you look at this man's track record and those of his colleagues.

What I do agree with you on is that it's way beyond time that councillors sorted this out. That means dealing with people, not the systems they ignore anyway.
SAC What we should all have a problem with is having the council tell us that a man with 25 years' in the job is too inexperienced to even do the most basic things with the borough's most contentious planning issue. I don't believe it for a minute, especially when you look at this man's track record and those of his colleagues. What I do agree with you on is that it's way beyond time that councillors sorted this out. That means dealing with people, not the systems they ignore anyway. grey_man
  • Score: 0

11:02pm Sun 17 Feb 13

Karlar says...

grey_man wrote:
SAC

What we should all have a problem with is having the council tell us that a man with 25 years' in the job is too inexperienced to even do the most basic things with the borough's most contentious planning issue. I don't believe it for a minute, especially when you look at this man's track record and those of his colleagues.

What I do agree with you on is that it's way beyond time that councillors sorted this out. That means dealing with people, not the systems they ignore anyway.
Nor do I believe for one minute as SAC seems to that, ”The Marton Close scandal has ended and undoubtedly there are lessons to be learnt from this and they have been recorded and highlighted in several reports.”. The only believable report on that topic is that of the Ombudsman because it was compiled by a person or persons independent of this council. The other was obviously massaged because its coyly published conclusions watered down the findings of the independent one.
It would be interesting to examine the record of the man with 25 years experience to see how many previous Ombudsman's reports he has a role, as well as the Peel Hall shambles - sorry basic mistake. Did we ever find out who made the basic mistake on the scheme where value of the land exponentially increased soon after the developer purchased it, or is that a Council secret as well?
As you correctly observe, the thread running through all of this is one of systems being ignored or manipulated by people who should know better, to suit particular outcomes. And that goes for the reports on them as well. Save for those produced by the Ombudsman, all others seek to conceal the true facts and lessen the blame for what we are led to believe are elementary mistakes.
Which leads to the question if they have made these "mistakes", why are they still engaged in dealing with sensitive matters, including those still running on schemes on which their conduct has been criticized?
It is doubtful if we will get a bellwether councillor or group of them to lead us out of this. They all seem too keenly engaged in political name calling instead of trying to restore trust and integrity. Helen Jones MP is right to keep bringing the shortcomings of planning and its advisers to prominence. If she did not, left to its own devices the council wants to draw a shroud over the facts instead of drawing a line in the sand and doing what we elect or pay them to do…act honestly openly and transparently.
[quote][p][bold]grey_man[/bold] wrote: SAC What we should all have a problem with is having the council tell us that a man with 25 years' in the job is too inexperienced to even do the most basic things with the borough's most contentious planning issue. I don't believe it for a minute, especially when you look at this man's track record and those of his colleagues. What I do agree with you on is that it's way beyond time that councillors sorted this out. That means dealing with people, not the systems they ignore anyway.[/p][/quote]Nor do I believe for one minute as SAC seems to that, ”The Marton Close scandal has ended and undoubtedly there are lessons to be learnt from this and they have been recorded and highlighted in several reports.”. The only believable report on that topic is that of the Ombudsman because it was compiled by a person or persons independent of this council. The other was obviously massaged because its coyly published conclusions watered down the findings of the independent one. It would be interesting to examine the record of the man with 25 years experience to see how many previous Ombudsman's reports he has a role, as well as the Peel Hall shambles - sorry basic mistake. Did we ever find out who made the basic mistake on the scheme where value of the land exponentially increased soon after the developer purchased it, or is that a Council secret as well? As you correctly observe, the thread running through all of this is one of systems being ignored or manipulated by people who should know better, to suit particular outcomes. And that goes for the reports on them as well. Save for those produced by the Ombudsman, all others seek to conceal the true facts and lessen the blame for what we are led to believe are elementary mistakes. Which leads to the question if they have made these "mistakes", why are they still engaged in dealing with sensitive matters, including those still running on schemes on which their conduct has been criticized? It is doubtful if we will get a bellwether councillor or group of them to lead us out of this. They all seem too keenly engaged in political name calling instead of trying to restore trust and integrity. Helen Jones MP is right to keep bringing the shortcomings of planning and its advisers to prominence. If she did not, left to its own devices the council wants to draw a shroud over the facts instead of drawing a line in the sand and doing what we elect or pay them to do…act honestly openly and transparently. Karlar
  • Score: 0

4:52pm Mon 18 Feb 13

Nick Tessla says...

SAC_in_Warrington wrote:
In my considered opinion and in order to progress with this issue, I think that a line needs to be drawn in the sand and obviously there is an urgent need to take a fresh look at the structure of Warrington Borough Council. The planning issues are becoming a roundabout of blame and counter blame and argumentative discussions that will not serve as any form of justice. The Marton Close scandal has ended and undoubtedly there are lessons to be learnt from this and they have been recorded and highlighted in several reports. We will of course need Warrington Borough Council’s reassurances that they have or are being dealt with. Some of the issues that are clearly repeated within the Peel Hall planning fiasco are also contemporary to the Marton Close scandal and thus require Warrington Borough Council to again reassure us that the appropriate action has been or is being taken.

I understand fully that the proposed redevelopment at Peel Hall is part way through a process and is now committed to a certain path through the planning procedures. I believe that there is still an opportunity to protest for and against the possible and yet to be decided outcomes.

Some of the disciplinary action, if not all, will quite reasonably be kept private and confidential. Therefore there is little sense or reason to pursue it further in a public domain because a null result will be forthcoming.

Come on councillors step up in this situation and please push for honest scrutiny of Council business. I also urge you put some determined effort in, because you will undoubtedly need to come together and have some cross party agreements for any viable retribution to result and some much need restoration of public trust in Warrington’s Borough Council, particularly concerning this and other serious issues!
Never mind internal disciplinary procedures - what many people are calling for is a proper Police investigation to ascertain whether there were any criminal offences.
[quote][p][bold]SAC_in_Warrington[/bold] wrote: In my considered opinion and in order to progress with this issue, I think that a line needs to be drawn in the sand and obviously there is an urgent need to take a fresh look at the structure of Warrington Borough Council. The planning issues are becoming a roundabout of blame and counter blame and argumentative discussions that will not serve as any form of justice. The Marton Close scandal has ended and undoubtedly there are lessons to be learnt from this and they have been recorded and highlighted in several reports. We will of course need Warrington Borough Council’s reassurances that they have or are being dealt with. Some of the issues that are clearly repeated within the Peel Hall planning fiasco are also contemporary to the Marton Close scandal and thus require Warrington Borough Council to again reassure us that the appropriate action has been or is being taken. I understand fully that the proposed redevelopment at Peel Hall is part way through a process and is now committed to a certain path through the planning procedures. I believe that there is still an opportunity to protest for and against the possible and yet to be decided outcomes. Some of the disciplinary action, if not all, will quite reasonably be kept private and confidential. Therefore there is little sense or reason to pursue it further in a public domain because a null result will be forthcoming. Come on councillors step up in this situation and please push for honest scrutiny of Council business. I also urge you put some determined effort in, because you will undoubtedly need to come together and have some cross party agreements for any viable retribution to result and some much need restoration of public trust in Warrington’s Borough Council, particularly concerning this and other serious issues![/p][/quote]Never mind internal disciplinary procedures - what many people are calling for is a proper Police investigation to ascertain whether there were any criminal offences. Nick Tessla
  • Score: 0

4:54pm Mon 18 Feb 13

Nick Tessla says...

SAC_in_Warrington wrote:
In my considered opinion and in order to progress with this issue, I think that a line needs to be drawn in the sand and obviously there is an urgent need to take a fresh look at the structure of Warrington Borough Council. The planning issues are becoming a roundabout of blame and counter blame and argumentative discussions that will not serve as any form of justice. The Marton Close scandal has ended and undoubtedly there are lessons to be learnt from this and they have been recorded and highlighted in several reports. We will of course need Warrington Borough Council’s reassurances that they have or are being dealt with. Some of the issues that are clearly repeated within the Peel Hall planning fiasco are also contemporary to the Marton Close scandal and thus require Warrington Borough Council to again reassure us that the appropriate action has been or is being taken.

I understand fully that the proposed redevelopment at Peel Hall is part way through a process and is now committed to a certain path through the planning procedures. I believe that there is still an opportunity to protest for and against the possible and yet to be decided outcomes.

Some of the disciplinary action, if not all, will quite reasonably be kept private and confidential. Therefore there is little sense or reason to pursue it further in a public domain because a null result will be forthcoming.

Come on councillors step up in this situation and please push for honest scrutiny of Council business. I also urge you put some determined effort in, because you will undoubtedly need to come together and have some cross party agreements for any viable retribution to result and some much need restoration of public trust in Warrington’s Borough Council, particularly concerning this and other serious issues!
Never mind internal disciplinary procedures - what many people are calling for is a proper Police investigation to ascertain whether there were any criminal offences committed within the Planning Department over the years.
[quote][p][bold]SAC_in_Warrington[/bold] wrote: In my considered opinion and in order to progress with this issue, I think that a line needs to be drawn in the sand and obviously there is an urgent need to take a fresh look at the structure of Warrington Borough Council. The planning issues are becoming a roundabout of blame and counter blame and argumentative discussions that will not serve as any form of justice. The Marton Close scandal has ended and undoubtedly there are lessons to be learnt from this and they have been recorded and highlighted in several reports. We will of course need Warrington Borough Council’s reassurances that they have or are being dealt with. Some of the issues that are clearly repeated within the Peel Hall planning fiasco are also contemporary to the Marton Close scandal and thus require Warrington Borough Council to again reassure us that the appropriate action has been or is being taken. I understand fully that the proposed redevelopment at Peel Hall is part way through a process and is now committed to a certain path through the planning procedures. I believe that there is still an opportunity to protest for and against the possible and yet to be decided outcomes. Some of the disciplinary action, if not all, will quite reasonably be kept private and confidential. Therefore there is little sense or reason to pursue it further in a public domain because a null result will be forthcoming. Come on councillors step up in this situation and please push for honest scrutiny of Council business. I also urge you put some determined effort in, because you will undoubtedly need to come together and have some cross party agreements for any viable retribution to result and some much need restoration of public trust in Warrington’s Borough Council, particularly concerning this and other serious issues![/p][/quote]Never mind internal disciplinary procedures - what many people are calling for is a proper Police investigation to ascertain whether there were any criminal offences committed within the Planning Department over the years. Nick Tessla
  • Score: 0

12:52am Tue 19 Feb 13

Billy Porter says...

So, if the planning department are a bit rubbish at things like this (and that's the way it seems ), it makes it all the more crucial that the rest of us present a strong case against this development.

As it is, there's a growing number of interest groups who are unified in their opposition to the application, but haven't really got an overall strategy.

There's a meeting at Winwick Leisure Centre this Friday (22nd Feb) at 7.30, which may be a good opportunity to focus our opposition.

A little bit of soft stuff may help to oil the wheels (the wheels have to be rolling first though), but what gets them started is objections based on planning considerations.

If you get your three minutes, don't waste it.
So, if the planning department are a bit rubbish at things like this (and that's the way it seems ), it makes it all the more crucial that the rest of us present a strong case against this development. As it is, there's a growing number of interest groups who are unified in their opposition to the application, but haven't really got an overall strategy. There's a meeting at Winwick Leisure Centre this Friday (22nd Feb) at 7.30, which may be a good opportunity to focus our opposition. A little bit of soft stuff may help to oil the wheels (the wheels have to be rolling first though), but what gets them started is objections based on planning considerations. If you get your three minutes, don't waste it. Billy Porter
  • Score: 0

9:31am Tue 19 Feb 13

grey_man says...

Billy

I think the problem is not that planning department is rubbish, but a bit more than that. Just as we can conclude they are incompetent, it's also possible to conclude they are working on the side of developers, including to mess things up on purpose. I certainly can't buy into the idea that a planning officer with over two decades in the job is too inexperienced to do it properly.
Billy I think the problem is not that planning department is rubbish, but a bit more than that. Just as we can conclude they are incompetent, it's also possible to conclude they are working on the side of developers, including to mess things up on purpose. I certainly can't buy into the idea that a planning officer with over two decades in the job is too inexperienced to do it properly. grey_man
  • Score: 0

9:32am Tue 19 Feb 13

grey_man says...

I hope the meeting goes well and there's enough pressure put on councillors by local people to deal with this department head on. It's beyond time that our elected representatives not only fought for the interests of constituents in dealing with this shower, but also were actively trying to remove them.
I hope the meeting goes well and there's enough pressure put on councillors by local people to deal with this department head on. It's beyond time that our elected representatives not only fought for the interests of constituents in dealing with this shower, but also were actively trying to remove them. grey_man
  • Score: 0

12:38pm Tue 19 Feb 13

say no to redrow says...

There is also evidence to show that if the developer is the type of person who doesn't care for planning law, doesn't mind how much he or she lies, flouts conditions and hectors the planners and elected members, to a point were the planners and members give up and let the developer do has he or she pleases. Usually by the LPA stating what has happened does contravene the Town & Country Planning Act, but, it would not be expedient to do anything about it!!

That how 99% of breaches are dealt with in Warrington. In fact when was the last time anything in this borough was enforced? There seem to be stories all over the UK of dodgy developments being knocked down, developers taken to task, TPO trees protected and if harmed re planted, but never in Warrington ?

Funny that ?
There is also evidence to show that if the developer is the type of person who doesn't care for planning law, doesn't mind how much he or she lies, flouts conditions and hectors the planners and elected members, to a point were the planners and members give up and let the developer do has he or she pleases. Usually by the LPA stating what has happened does contravene the Town & Country Planning Act, but, it would not be expedient to do anything about it!! That how 99% of breaches are dealt with in Warrington. In fact when was the last time anything in this borough was enforced? There seem to be stories all over the UK of dodgy developments being knocked down, developers taken to task, TPO trees protected and if harmed re planted, but never in Warrington ? Funny that ? say no to redrow
  • Score: 0

1:35pm Tue 19 Feb 13

grey_man says...

I think the problem is clearly endemic with the local planning function and will continue to be so when we have councillors who clearly can't be bothered to speak out and a chief executive who excuses law breaking as 'a mistake' and this latest fiasco as evidence that we need people with far more than 20 years experience to do even the most fundamental of tasks.
I think the problem is clearly endemic with the local planning function and will continue to be so when we have councillors who clearly can't be bothered to speak out and a chief executive who excuses law breaking as 'a mistake' and this latest fiasco as evidence that we need people with far more than 20 years experience to do even the most fundamental of tasks. grey_man
  • Score: 0

2:22pm Tue 19 Feb 13

Karlar says...

grey_man wrote:
Billy

I think the problem is not that planning department is rubbish, but a bit more than that. Just as we can conclude they are incompetent, it's also possible to conclude they are working on the side of developers, including to mess things up on purpose. I certainly can't buy into the idea that a planning officer with over two decades in the job is too inexperienced to do it properly.
The problem is not that our planners and their advisers are rubbish, but that they are well versed in misinforming councillors and disclosing only the information they want to come out when briefing the planning committee. Instead of putting all the facts before the committee to allow them to make reasoned decisions, the planners are highly selective. I hope Billy and his fellow councillors flush this out, not only for the sake of the people behind stopping the development fo Peel Hall, but for all in Warrington who have been affected by our failing planners and the continuing reluctance of most councillors to do what they should have done years ago.
[quote][p][bold]grey_man[/bold] wrote: Billy I think the problem is not that planning department is rubbish, but a bit more than that. Just as we can conclude they are incompetent, it's also possible to conclude they are working on the side of developers, including to mess things up on purpose. I certainly can't buy into the idea that a planning officer with over two decades in the job is too inexperienced to do it properly.[/p][/quote]The problem is not that our planners and their advisers are rubbish, but that they are well versed in misinforming councillors and disclosing only the information they want to come out when briefing the planning committee. Instead of putting all the facts before the committee to allow them to make reasoned decisions, the planners are highly selective. I hope Billy and his fellow councillors flush this out, not only for the sake of the people behind stopping the development fo Peel Hall, but for all in Warrington who have been affected by our failing planners and the continuing reluctance of most councillors to do what they should have done years ago. Karlar
  • Score: 0

3:24pm Tue 19 Feb 13

wa1 resident says...

And then when it goes to committee you have those with a vote spouting stats which are incorrect, which they in part subsequently accept as being incorrect and which has affected decisions they have made, and another who asks for a definition of a hip shaped roof and the difference between 2 and 3 storeys on a building - knowledge fairly fundamental to someone trusted with decision making responsibility on planning matters!. If it wasnt witnessed, its hard to believe, but i am sure its another reason why any minutes taken and not yet destroyed are very basic indeed!
And then when it goes to committee you have those with a vote spouting stats which are incorrect, which they in part subsequently accept as being incorrect and which has affected decisions they have made, and another who asks for a definition of a hip shaped roof and the difference between 2 and 3 storeys on a building - knowledge fairly fundamental to someone trusted with decision making responsibility on planning matters!. If it wasnt witnessed, its hard to believe, but i am sure its another reason why any minutes taken and not yet destroyed are very basic indeed! wa1 resident
  • Score: 0

1:05am Wed 20 Feb 13

Billy Porter says...

Oh, and just in case anyone thinks I'm the other Billy, I'm not.

Not that I'd want to disassociate myself from him, 'cos I've met him and he's a thouroughly nice chap. Always happy to have a chat with him.

My name isn't Billy, or Mick:

http://www.youtube.c
om/watch?v=txWfLFkHM
PA

And I was just being a bit glib using the word "rubbish".

Maybe I'm being over optimistic and too charitable here, but if the decision goes against Satnam, would anyone think it was nothing to do with what the planning department had done?
Oh, and just in case anyone thinks I'm the other Billy, I'm not. Not that I'd want to disassociate myself from him, 'cos I've met him and he's a thouroughly nice chap. Always happy to have a chat with him. My name isn't Billy, or Mick: http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=txWfLFkHM PA And I was just being a bit glib using the word "rubbish". Maybe I'm being over optimistic and too charitable here, but if the decision goes against Satnam, would anyone think it was nothing to do with what the planning department had done? Billy Porter
  • Score: 0

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