Sunday, 24 January 2021

Protester claims council refuses to listen to residents

SOUTH Oxfordshire District Council has been accused of failing to listen to residents after saying it couldn’t accept the petition.

Organiser Peter Boros sent it to the council’s chief executive Mark Stone, chairman David Bretherton, and planning committee members. 

But Steven Corrigan, the council’s democratic services manager, replied that its policy “excludes the consideration of petitions relating to planning applications”.

He added that he would ask the planning department to reply. Mr Boros responded: “I have no idea how a local authority can possibly say that it has a policy that means its chair and chief exeectuive will not listen to a request from what is now well over 1,000 residents.

“To refer the matter for consideration by the very department that we are asking them to investigate sounds not only quite bizarre but also contrary to the principles of natural justice.

“I do hope that the authority will reconsider its approach.”

He has now made a complaint to the council on behalf of the 
signatories, the Thames Farm Action Group steering committee and Shiplake Parish Council.

He said: It’s pretty bizarre when you have 1,065 people saying to an authority ‘we don’t like what’s going on here’ for that authority to say, ‘you have got to go through our complaints department’. It is not acceptable.”

In his complaint he said: “Under no circumstances can these proposals be considered non-material or a minor variation. However, they are being treated as such and behind closed doors.” A council spokeswoman said: “The views of our residents are extremely important and we recognise the strength of feeling in this case.

“Once we have received further information from the applicant we will inform everyone who has commented on the drainage details and they will have a minimum of 14 days to submit further comments. 

“While there is no formal process to consider petitions at this stage, we are happy to include this petition alongside the other comments received as part of our review of this condition.”

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