Tunbridge Wells councillor in shock resignation over ‘ludicrous’ planning rules

The Mead School in Tunbridge Wells gave a professional level performance in the  ISA drama contests

A WELL-KNOWN councillor has resigned from the planning committee with ‘immediate effect’ due to the ‘ludicrous’ rules and lack of ‘common sense’.

David Neve made the remarks in a resignation letter handed to planning Chairman, Cllr Barry Noakes, on Friday [August 3], three years after joining the committee.

The former mayor said he was unable to properly represent his ward, as the rules are so ‘restrictive’ that they do not allow personal views or serious consideration of residents’ concerns.

‘At one meeting I would have liked to have voted against granting planning permission but there were no material grounds for refusal, except common sense, so I abstained,’ he states.

On another occasion, the Liberal Democrat, who was the only non-Conservative member of the committee, found that he had to briefly leave the council chamber due to a bout of sneezing and coughing brought on by hay fever.

However, whilst he took part in the remainder of the debate after an absence that lasted ‘about a minute’, he found he was no longer allowed to cast a vote.

‘I was barred because I had left the meeting -ludicrous,’ he said.

Of particular concern to Cllr Neve is a meeting this evening [August 8] at which an application to demolish a multi-storey car park in Garden Street to make way for 18 apartments will be debated (see above).

The recommendation is to grant permission for the development, which will take place just yards from his St James’ ward boundary, despite it being turned down before.

Cllr Neve said: ‘I see little change except for providing section 106 money [money paid by developers for council projects], treescape work and three affordable units.

‘I cannot see how this improves the outlook for residents opposite.’

Out of the ten reasons why the committee should green-light the project put forward by planning officers, Cllr Neve believes he would only support two.


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