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Planning Appeals System

Comment 6th July 2010

Please look again at the Planning Appeals System located in Bristol. It may be good to have a system of appeal for any decision, but in building planning the appeals system is far too one sided.

  We have, and pay for, democratically elected councillors who know the local area and who are asked to make local judgements on whether new building-work should go ahead. Only the builder can use the Appeal System. If one person – the Inspector – says the building can go ahead, (even if all the coucillors object) that is the final decision: no appeals proceedure exists for those not wanting development.

  People not wanting building in their area may not even know that a developer has gone to appeal. They are merely told that the building-work will go ahead. The system tramples over peoples rights, local democracy and makes a mockery of why we pay for and support elected representitives.

  I know people who have had their homes and gardens spoiled and blighted by the decision of the Inspector; a government official who only sees one side because the system does not allow both sides equal appeals rights; a system where the the Inspector visits only the appelant, with the council planning officer who approved the building in the first place. This is blatantly unfair.

  If we are going to have a system for planning appeals, let us have a fair system; one that keeps everyone properly informed and is impartial.  Make the appelant, rather than the coucil pay for any appeal, and thereby save tax-payer money at the same time.

  I was so disgusted and horrified at what happened to friend's homes and loved local buildings after the anonymous Inspector called, despite a 'no' vote by concillors to proposed building, I wondered why anyone would bother to vote in a local election! 

Why does this matter?

Reforming the Bristol Planning Appeals System would allow greater local accountability. It would also restore confidence in local decision making, bringing fairness to both sides in a building /developing dispute.

People might be more willing to vote in elections if they knew the decisions of their elected representitives could not be crudely pushed asside.

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