According to the council website, on March 12 planning supremo Geoff Hall responded as follows to the Hopkins Homes proposal for 166 new dwellings south of Hunstanton: “I fundamentally disagree with your interpretation of responses received to the latest consultations on Site Development Management policies pre-submission document. It is my view that some of the consultations clearly raise issues of principle, and question the strategy for providing housing in Hunstanton.
“For example I note from the responses that there are queries over whether the previous strategy for Hunstanton is more appropriate than the recent inclusion of the large site in the pre-submission document.
“I believe this proposal raises strategic issues and matters of principle for the development of Hunstanton that should be considered at the forthcoming plan examination; otherwise it would render the recent public consultation superfluous, and in my view bring the plan process into disrepute. Should you disagree with this view then either we can take the application to committee with an officer recommendation for refusal, or you may appeal against non-determination of the application.
It is of note that you decided to submit the current application at an early stage in the process (certainly for the proposed allocation of your site) against officer advice, and the issues set out above are a direct consequence of this.”
These words have a decidedly hollow ring in view of the fact that the examination resumed the day after the Hopkins application was approved, thereby rendering the recent public consultation superfluous and bringing the plan process into disrepute. Surely this is not what government ministers have in mind when they talk about local participation in the planning system?
Hunstanton Road, Heacham