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Pressure mounts on ‘delegated powers’

Created on 24/06/2020 @ 08:52
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Pressure is mounting on Powys County Council over the way planning applications are being handled.

Concern has been raised among councillors on most sides of the council, along with residents opposed to some plans, over the way planning applications have been delegated to council officers during the Coronavirus situation.

Now, Montgomeryshire Labour Party has raised its concern.

It said it is opposed to the changes that Powys County Council have made in their planning process at the Democratic Services Committee (DSC) on January 15.

“The Committee approved a number of changes to Section 13 of the Council's Constitution (which details decision making responsibilities in respect of the Council's functions) which effectively mean that for many planning applications that cause public concern, a single Planning Officer will make the decision,” said a statement.

“Current Covid-19 restrictions mean that there are no public meetings bring held and there seem to be no proposals to hold virtual public consultations over Zoom.

“If we add this to the fact that Powys County Council no longer publish the objections to planning applications on their website, we now seem to be entering into a situation where a public process is opaque and concealed from the public, which is surely not what Powys Council or its Councillors want to promote.”

The statement added: “We call on councillors to put pressure on Powys to publish objections to planning applications on their website, to hold public consultations online and to reverse the decisions made in January, thus restoring transparency and openness in their public decision making.

“Montgomeryshire Labour has raised this issue with Members of the Senedd, Welsh Government and with Welsh Labour in the recent policy review.

“Planning processes should show all objections and support for planning applications online, accepting the protection of an individual’s data under GDPR,” the statement said.

It comes following the approval of a caravan park near Caersws two weeks ago which was given the green light despite objections from two community councils and a petition from the local community.

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