Medina House Planning Brief Petition: merely ‘noted’

9 August 2012…..Our petition of 321 signatures had a formal place within the Planning Committee Agenda documentation on Weds. 8th August, 2012 under 42(a).  Both the epetition that ended on 25.7.12 and its paper version were formally presented together.
Below is the verbatim Agenda entry setting out how the council would respond to the presentation of this petition, with a 3 minute speech, that was webcast live on the council website.  Once archived, it will be viewable again.
Paperwork declared three council response options:
1.  note the petition calling for the Council to raise a planning brief for Medina House, to spell out redevelopment constraints and opportunities that a planning application would have to comply with and take into consideration. 
2.  write to the petition organiser (saveHOVE) setting out the council’s views or,
3.   raise an officer report considering a range of options (see below).
Cllr Christopher Hawtree, Chair of Planning and one of the two ward councillors for the Medina House site chose merely to ‘note‘ the petition which had drawn support from architects, developers, retired planning officers, the other ward cllr for Medina House, Andrew Wealls, plus the Hove MP, Mike Weatherley.  He did this on behalf of the Planning Committee which implies they agreed with this cursory, dismissive decision.  It was not discussed with them at the meeting and one wonders if it was discussed with them beforehand. 
Cllr Wealls queried this non-response afterwards, also asking when we might know if the council would do a planning brief.  His email was answered by the Development Control Manager, Jeanette Walsh, who said “Petitions are noted“.  She also said she was “not aware of any need to respond“.  
Rather shabby and inadequate, don’t you think, in view of the fact that she had two other options?  Oops, no, of course; it was not her merely ‘noting’ the petition was it.  It was the entire Planning Committee, speaking through its Chair:  Christopher Hawtree, ward councillor for Medina House.  Or was he….?
______________________________________________
1.     SUMMARY AND POLICY CONTEXT
1.1    To receive any petitions presented at Council, any petitions submitted directly to Democratic Services or any e-Petition submitted via the council’s website.
2.      RECOMMENDATIONS:
2.2    That the Committee responds to the petition either by noting it or writing to the petition organiser setting out the Council’s views, or where it is considered more appropriate, calls for an officer report on the matter which may give consideration to a range of options, including the following:
  • taking actions requested in the petition
  • considering the petition at a council meeting
  • holding an inquiry into the matter
  • undertaking research into the matter
  • holding a public meeting
  • holding a consultation
  • holding a meeting with petitioners
  • referring the petition for consideration by the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee
  • calling a referendum
3.     PETITIONS
3.(i)  To receive the following e-Petition……..(ours) and a skatepark one followed.
__________________________________________
Brighton and Hove News has taken an interest in this issue and you can read their report of this presentation, with photos from this website, and extensive quotes from the speech given in presenting our petition, here
Many, many, thanks to those taking the trouble to register and sign the online petition on the BHCC website and the residents who gained the paper petition signatures – all done in less than a month to make our point – important work,  even if BHCC chose to merely yawn a ‘noted’ and not address the issue at Planning on the 8th of August, 2012.  Shame on them. 
Will we ever be told if they will or if they won’t do a Planning Brief?  In view of their attitude Wednesday, a public question to (possibly) find out on the 29th will be necessary. 
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About saveHOVE

Concerned with planning, development and the conservation of historic Hove, we actively seek to prevent inappropriate, negligent and abusive redevelopments!
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