We have an update from the councillors at Henley Parish Council:
A special meeting of the parish council on March 30, considered what to do about the decision by Mid Suffolk planners to grant outline planning permission for 11 houses on a site south of Ashbocking Road, opposite Pond End and Pearson’s Place.
When this application was first submitted in September 2019, the parish council, along with several residents, opposed the plans – and, after a very long silence, Mid Suffolk has approved them.
The March meeting decided to write a letter of complaint to the Mid Suffolk Chief Executive and Philip Isbell, the Chief Planning Officer.
There isn’t enough space here to publish the whole letter, or the reply which we received a few days later. The full exchange can be read online at www. henley.onesuffolk.net; just go to the home page and you will find both letters.
The conclusion of the parish council’s letter read as follows:
It is the view of Henley Parish Council that this application has been mishandled for the following reasons:
The delay and lack of communication were unacceptable; the matter should have been referred to the Planning Committee; the decision is based on at least one false premise; mitigation measures have not been properly addressed.
We look forward to your urgent comments.
Mr Isbell’s reply was:
In all the circumstance, I do not consider that the application required referral to committee. I am also of the view that the reference to the JLP, although the settlement boundary had been amended during the process of the application, was not the basis on which the application was determined, but merely noted as a likely direction of travel. I have noted that mitigation measures were as required in respect of Education and Highways matters and addressed in our consideration.
Whilst acknowledging that Henley Parish Council opposes this development and that we could have done more to communicate with you, I do hope that these answers are of assistance to you in understanding how the decision was reached.
Henley Parish Council will be considering its next steps at its meeting on May 4. That meeting – which will also be the annual parish meeting and the AGM of the parish council – looks like being the last online meeting we will hold. When the coronavirus outbreak began, legislation was passed allowing meetings to be legally held online, but only until May 6, 2021.
Online meetings have proved surprisingly successful, attended very well by councillors and members of the public, including many people who initially felt that the technology would hinder rather than help decision-making. It seems odd to abolish an effective additional democratic process, a useful way of holding meetings if circumstances call for it. Many councils are asking the government to change its mind.
In a final eccentric twist, there will be a short period during which no meetings can be held at all. The last day for an online meeting is May 6 and the first date on which in-person meetings will be legal is May 17. Let’s hope nothing significant happens between the two dates.
You can find our privacy notice online. If you have any questions about anything to do with the parish council, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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Don’t forget to keep an eye from time to time on our website where we publish all sorts of useful (we hope!) information and contacts.
Henley Parish Council Clerk Rod Caird: 07785 331217