|Protestors outside Bridgwater House|
Members of Bridgwater Forward took to the streets this week to demonstrate against Sedgemoor District Councils involvement alongside co-landowners Somerset County Council in the recent Tesco fee-pay scandal . A well attended protest outside the Full Council meeting on the 19th December was followed by several interventions at the meeting itself during Public speaking time.
Glen Burrows said afterwards "In answer to my question: ' Was the £20,000 originally part of the planning application fee requested of Tesco Ltd? " the answer was a very firm "Yes"
"In answer to my question: " Is flexibility of planning fees available to all applicants, or only to Tesco Ltd?" the answer was a very firm "No. Planning fees are fixed and there is no negotiating"!
'So complacent they don't care'
"They can't have it both ways! 1) Tesco has not paid the fee originally requested 2) Somerset County Council has paid that part of the fee, so council taxpayers have enabled Tesco to pay £20,000 less than was originally asked. Sedgemoor are now happy to admit this, but are so complacent that they don't care!"
"It's a bad situation if a planning authority is openly favouring a developer in advance of a decision being made about a major development proposal submitted by that developer. Furthermore, both authorities are joint landowners in this case. Our view is that the decision should go to an independent inquiry, since Sedgemoor are patently incapable of making an objective planning decision in this case. "
Sally Jones said " The whole process has been unfair right from the start. Now we are expected to submit questions for a meeting in January over Christmas period.!"
Alec Western expressed his sadness at the censorship of his contribution to the Planning debate. He had submitted his observations to the Council website only to find them first heavily censored and then removed. He said " I carefully laid out my concerns and objections and a large proportion was deemed irrelevent by the planning department . Please inform me why other letters as submitted were not also subject to the same degree of censorship."
|'No subsidies for Tesco'|
SDC leader Cllr Duncan McGinty said "SDC has a policy to ensure that innapropriate comments are not published however we will treat this issue as a formal complaint."
'So what is the truth?!"
Bob Cudlip asked "So what is the truth about the Tesco fee issue? The chief exec of SCC has said that SDC and SCC were working together to share the costs of the planning application."
Cllr McGinty replied " SDC hasn't paid a penny to Tesco."
The protestors concerns were taken up by Labour Councill Ian Tucker who tried to ask from within the meeting for clarification of the Tesco Fee payment only to be told by Chief Executive Kerry Rickards "It has been paid in full by Somerset County Council and I am looking forward to explaining this to the Corporare Scrutiny committee investigation in February."