New Forest Keeps Planning Standard
As a member of the New Forest National Park, I proposed that the Authority keeps its’ own Head of Planning, in order to ensure that the excellent service it delivers, properly reflects the standards and expectations that we will both protect and enhance the special qualities of the New Forest National park.
My proposal was supported and voted for by every member of the authority, with the exception of three conservative members, (who are also leading members of the District Council).
The Tory plan would have meant that the most senior planning officer would have been constantly scuttling between the Park Authority and the District offices, trying to manage organisations which have very different purposes, policies planning standards and workloads.
A planning agent used the public session to voice his concerns that the tory plan would lead to a loss of the standards of service he and his fellow agents had come to expect.
I told members that the Park Authority greatly benefits from the focussed leadership we have and that any small salary saving by sharing the lead officer would be vastly outweighed by the disadvantages that such an arrangement would force upon us.
Quality comes at a price. Nearly all members of the Park Authority who have experience of the planning processes agreed with me and voted accordingly.
It does not mean the Park Authority and District Council won’t work together, especially where we have shared interests.
Had the Tory plans been supported, we would have been the only National Park in the country without it’s own, bespoke, Head of Planning.
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Conservative election literature over the last 20 years has regularly featured an item that suggests that the Liberal Democrats would “impose” wheelie bins if we got back into power.