The lion that is Arun District Council’s planning department, has roared.
Well actually, growled softly.
Or to be more accurate, waved it’s furry paws at the supermarket giant, Morrissons – for their continued failure to comply with the conditions of their planning consents.
This story dates back to April 2012 when Morrissons applied to Arun District Council to build a new supermarket on what was the old Body Shop’s premises. Arun District Council’ Planning department granted Morrissions permission to build, on the basis that Morrissons would include an ‘Enterprise Hub’ as part of their store.
The Enterprise hub was to provide offices for small businesses to rent for up to 200 employees.
The planning consent stipulated the Enterprise Hub must be completed prior to the store opening.
Unsurprisingly, Morrissons ignored the planning stipulation and opened their new store and failed to provide an Enterprise Hub.
Meanwhile Arun District Council’s Planning department, somewhat surprisingly, let them get away with it.
Until now (some 3 years later) when Mr Karl Roberts, Arun District Council’s Director of Planning and Economic Regeneration, has finally roared into life and written to Morrissons advising them they must comply with the conditions of their planning consents.
Mr Roberts is unapologetic in his harsh approach to Morrissons.
” The council doesn’t take enforcement action lightly but it is important that planning rules and procedure is followed correctly.” he says. ” I hope Morrisons will take swift measures to remedy the situation otherwise the council will need to consider further action.”
Enforcement action, Mr Roberts?
What enforcement action?
You’ve finally got off your backside after 3 long years and done what exactly?
Written a letter.
How about comparing your so called ‘enforcement action’ against Morrissons supermarket, to someone whose parked legally in an Arun District Council car park, paid for parking but returned later than they’ve paid for. Here your council’s enforcement action slaps the ‘offender’ with an instant £70 fine.
Unlike your council’s treatment of Morrissons, there’s no ignoring an overstayer in one of Arun District Council’s car parks. Or of course if you’re unfortunate enough to be late in sending your monthly council tax payment to Arun District Council expect to get a demand from the council that you now pay all your council tax in advance.
Or how about the classic Arun District Council enforcement action, as demonstrated by Nigel Croad, Deputy Chief Executive at an Arun District Council planning meeting in 2013?
This really is a classic. A meeting of Arun District Council’s planning committee where the public have been invited to attend.
However, as Arun District Council underestimated the level of public interest, they failed to provide enough room for those in attendance and a large section of the public were debarred from taking part.
Mr Croad’s response is to bait the crowd by accusing them of being silly. Of course they were being rather silly, Mr Croad. Foolish in believing that someone as inept as yourself could actually successfully arrange a public meeting, and correctly gauge public interest and provide adequate facilities.
When finally, handling a group of mildly irate residents became all too much for Mr Croad, he called Sussex police.
The Youtube video below by Pete Edgeler captures the atmosphere beautifully. Watch Mr Croad, (the Basil Faulty look-alike appearing at .50 in the video) demonstrate how not to manage a public meeting.
I very doubt either Mr Croad or his colleague Mr Roberts would dare speak to representatives of Morrissons in the same way as he addressed this group of local residents.
Or how about Arun District Council’s treatment of Alan, Pier Road’s most eccentric resident? Here Arun District Council’s Planning Department have written to a local resident and amongst other things, demanded to know why he has a toy dog and a mannequin attached to his property. A property, which gives many many visitors and locals some joy and amusement.
Yet when it comes to Morrissons supermarket not complying with the conditions of their planning consents, what do Arun District Council do?
As always, thanks for reading.
Your comments welcome below.