ON THURSDAY, March 1, I attended a planning meeting at the Minerva Theatre to hear the outcome of a planning application for 50 houses on the outskirts of Selsey.
This application had been refused when it came before the Selsey Town Council and had been referred to Chichester District Council, which I believe was following normal procedure. For over two hours, a packed room listened to the many valid reasons why this proposal would be highly detrimental to the residents of Selsey, including traffic problems, infrastructure, schools, doctors and dentists which are already stretched to the limit. The legalities were also questioned, among which were the planned site being virgin agricultural land and the strategic gap between Selsey and Church Norton being breached, all of which was explained in great detail. I believe there were approximately 14 councillors present from the locality.
After much debate a vote was taken; there was a unanimous vote to refuse the application and when asked who was for it, only silence. Now I am a layperson when it comes to planning, but my understanding was that a unanimous vote at a council planning meeting means that vote has won.
However, this seems not to be the case. We were then told because the application had been refused by 14 councillors, it now had to go to the planning application referral committee (PARC). Can somebody enlighten us as to who and where these PARC people are and does this mean if a vote is passed that the CDC doesn’t like, it can be overturned by PARC? If this is normal procedure then surely it makes a mockery of calling a public meeting with councillors, which we elect to make decisions, only to have it overturned if the outcome is not what the district council wanted.