Hillside & Atalaya
- a case of maladministration?

On 1st April the City Council's Planning Committee granted planning permission for 10 flats (in two blocks) on the site of Hillside and Atalaya in Gateacre Brow. The decision was taken on the basis of revised plans, on which local residents had not been consulted. We were not even told about these new drawings, even though we had explicitly asked, back in January, to be notified.

The day before the meeting, having read the Planning Officer's report recommending the granting of planning permission, we drew attention to a number of shortcomings in the report, which we felt gave a misleading impression of what was being proposed and of the impact which it would have on the locality. The Planning Department's response was an email: 'This application has been withdrawn from the agenda of 1 April Planning Committee. I will put your comments on file and the case officer will address the other issues raised upon his return from leave on 6 April. I hope this information is of help.'

As a result of this message, some local residents abandoned their plans to attend the meeting and voice their objections. It turned out, however, that the item had NOT in fact been withdrawn from the Agenda, and the decision was therefore taken in their absence. Formal complaints have since been lodged with the Council's Chief Executive, both by the Society and local residents, as a prelude to referring the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman.

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