Reliability of information

The phrase 'Statutory consultees have no objections' seems to be given quite a bit of weight in planning matters.  Is this merited?
I've lost faith after discovering that the procedure seems to involve asking the local authority and taking their answer as gospel.   Is that transparent & unbiased?
What if the local authority = planning authority = developer  = adjudicator of  planning decisions = enforcer of conditions.   Where are the checks to ensure impartiality?  And there are proposals to simplify things??

Our Development Management  / Planning Committee consists of all councillors.    I'll refrain from commenting on their enthusiasm/ expertise in planning, but lets just say that from the public gallery you get a good view of some members' Twitter feeds as they scroll away on their phone.
Sometimes phones are put to good use.  One long-standing councillor, confused by a reference to Historic Environment Scotland, had a quick Google and announced (with a sense of awe) that they seemed like Very Important People, and maybe their opinion counted...

There are no minutes of these meetings - apart from declarations of interest and voting record.  The above HES example is the only 'fact checking' I've seen in attending meetings for a couple of years.
The councillors listen to deputations & are given 'assurances' by council officers.  There's no fact checking. 
I've witnessed many statements which have proved to be untrue.  I have a record of who said what - but it's uncorroborated.
We're talking important, multi-million £ decisions being made - and by the time anyone can prove that the 'facts' provided might not actually be very factual, it's too late!

Why the contribution is important

Planning decisions can have a huge impact on communities.  They can cost a lot of money.  Doesn't it make more sense to improve the accuracy & reliability of information used to come to a decision?  Or is the aim just to throw up houses as quickly as possible & assume that if folk are desperate enough for a house they won't mind it being in a swamp, or falling down a mine shaft!?

by LynnWatson on March 01, 2018 at 01:12PM

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