Sunday, 3 February 2013

Ipswich Tories and planning

Ipswich Tory Councillor Cenci used a comment on a Tory blog to criticise Ipswich Labour for our stance over recent developments by Tesco’s.

What some may find funny that the comment was on a post claiming that Labour knows little about economics because the comment proved that some Tories know little about the rules around planning.

Cllr Cenci stated: “You missed out the bit about Tesco’s and the fact Labour voted against the new proposal for Ipswich even though it would bring in new jobs and homes to a run down area. Counc Carnall pointed out that originally it was a 70million pound project but now will be a 50million stating that Labour admin had lost us £ 20million in one swoop. The portfolio holder responded by saying that Tesco’s didn’t do very well last year. “

First of all members of planning should vote on what they believe is right after hearing the application, group members should not have the whip used on planning. So Ipswich Labour members did not vote as a group against the Tesco’s application for Grafton Way – unless Cllr Cenci is telling us the Tories did vote as a group for the proposal?

Cllr Cenci indicates that the application was to bring in new homes and jobs – well we have plenty of empty flats and unfinished tower blocks within 400 metres of Grafton way – are more homes needed here? Plus will a large supermarket this close to the Town Centre take away shoppers from our main stores – Ipswich Central seemed to think so. Then there is traffic, similar to the Golden Key application I feel again we were let down by a County Council transport report that thought all those extra cars would not increase traffic on an already busy roundabout by the Nova Hotel.

Of course if she wishes to see lots of new homes (not flats) and jobs, I hope she will be supporting fully the development of the Northern Fringe as certain Tory councillors now seem to prefer the start of building new homes being delayed as long as possible

She seems to also blame Labour for the delay in the start of the project and also that it has now been downsized. The delay was due to legal proceedings taken out by the developer who owns the old Civic Centre site. Understandably they were unhappy, the Tory Lib Dem administration sold them the old council HQ and then within weeks were supporting a rival development less than half a mile away! What we are left with currently is two empty sites. Cllr Jones is actually right last year was not one of Tesco’s best and they do seem to be slowing their expansion plans.

They still do seem keen on smaller Express shops, and are currently looking to turn the Emperor Pub on Norwich Rd into an Express Store – and residents plus politicians are all unhappy about it – with Mr Gummer feeling it better the pub remains and has offered his support to campaign that also involves Lib Dem and Labour councillors. Rather strange to me when Lib Dems and Tories were quick to attack Labour activists for trying to save the Golden Key.

The Golden Key was turned down on traffic issues plus the design of the extensions they wished to build, and let’s look at the vote on this – Labour Councillors’ voted against the proposal – but not all of them unlike the Tory Group who all abstained on the first application and then joined the majority of Labour councillors on voting against it the second time. We have been informed that is was just a coincidence that the Tory councillors all came to the same decision to abstain, no group whip.

Certain Ipswich Tories may accuse Labour councillors not knowing the technical description of recession but it certainly seems that leading Tory councillors do not understand the planning process.

1 comment:

IS/BR said...

If there are no group whips on planning, how come both Labour and the Tories have a group meeting before the committee? What exactly do you discuss in that meeting if there are no group whips?

Whether there is a whip or not, by having the meeting you give the impression that it is a stitch up behind closed doors. Group meetings for planning should be banned.