KIRDFORD PARISH has been publicly scolded for failing to attend a meeting after it criticised Chichester District Council in a neighbourhood plan dispute.
Kirdford Parish Council objected to John and Sandra Beckett’s plan to demolish a derelict building at Filliams Farm, in Plaistow Road, and replace it with a three-bedroom family home.
The parish said it had no particular problem with the overall scheme but was concerned the district council had not told the couple they needed to consult the relevant policies in the neighbourhood plan as well.
“KPC councillors were aggrieved to hear that the applicants had not been told by Chichester District Council about the existence of the NDP, so were not aware of the NDP’s policies or the requirement to comply with the policies,” said the parish in a report presented to councillors at last Wednesday’s district planning committee.
Kirdford has worked hard for the past three years to build up its neighbourhood development plan, believing it would give the people a greater say in the development of their community.
However, the parish was upset to see it appeared not to get referred to by district planning officers.
The objections raised by the parish were in areas where it did not feel the development complied with its own plan.
Speaking afterwards, Kirdford district councillor and parish councillor Josef Ransley said he discussed the details of the case with a planning officer and the parish did not feel it therefore needed to attend the committee meeting.
“When the applicants originally approached the parish council on the proposal they stated that the planning officer hadn’t advised them of the existence of the Kirdford neighbourhood plan,” he said.
“That’s what caused some of the parish councillors to be a little bit cross. They were fully sympathetic and expressed their sympathy with the applicant in that the applicant wasn’t aware.”
Nevertheless, district committee members were angry at what they saw as Kirdford wasting time and money.
“I just want to publicly express my disappointment that Kirdford Parish Council aren’t here,” said Plaistow’s district councillor Philippa Hardwick.
Petworth district councillor Janet Duncton echoed Cllr Hardwick: “I was quite shocked at the attitude taken by the parish.
“I was shocked that there should be any ill-feeling towards the work that we’ve done. I felt this council had supported Kirdford but that’s another story.”
The application was approved by the committee.
Cllr Ransley said Kirdford did not attend as the matter over the neighbourhood plan was resolved with the officer and they had no further objection to the site.
“The real issue here about non-attendance is that I would’ve thought the committee members would’ve actually given the parish council a bit of respect,” he said.
“If they felt there was a need for them to come and defend their situation they would’ve come down.”