I'm seething. Yet again the planning system in Powys has made my blood boil. There's so little genuine democracy left in the system, that its an abuse of the English Language to any longer call it 'local' government. The animals have taken over the zoo.
Its only a small application (for two houses) in the pretty little Welsh village of Pontrobert that has set my tail on fire. And I don't even know enough about the actual application to have any opinion about whether it should be approved or not. What makes me so agitated is that it may be decided by 'officers' of the Planning Department, with no input from the elected councillors. There is widespread local opposition to this development. The Community Council is vehemently opposed. The local County Councillor is opposed. There has been a history of refusals on the site. Yet it seems that the processes of the Council mean that this application will be decided by an officer, with no involvement of the Councillors at all. What the hell do we pay them their £10,000 per year for?
And another totally bizarre related matter. It seems that if the 'local' County Councillor attends the Community Council Meeting and speaks or votes on its recommendation to the Local Planning Authority (County Council) on an application, that Councillor is then barred from voting in the Local Planning Authority meeting because of what is deemed to be 'an interest'. Have you ever heard anything so stupid. It seems to be part of some great bureaucrat's scheme to undermine the principle of local democracy. As for as I can see, planning is a local authority function where there is a concerted attempt by central government to eliminate any local influence whatsoever being heard. I hope the population of Pontrobert will descend upon the Powys Council Offices in mass protest if this application doesn't go before Councillors for decision. If they do, I will be there with them.