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Developer-led council "failing to comply" with planning guidelines on informed consultation and decision making
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Complaint to council on lack of paper plans

The Courier, 8 July 2010

St Andrews Community Council has officially complained to Fife Council's chief executive over the lack of paper copies of plans for developments in the town.

The community council's planning committee claims officials have "refused" to supply planning information to its members, other voluntary bodies and the general public.

The letter to council chief Ronnie Hinds, signed by chairman Dr Ian Goudie and others, quotes current community engagement guidelines that state people should be made aware of proposals that affect them as early as possible.

It also requires that people are given the facts to allow them to make a contribution, have the opportunity to engage and - having made their views known - get clearer explanations of how and why decisions were made.

The community council says the local authority is "failing to comply with all aspects" of planning advice.

A community council spokeswoman complained that officials refuse to supply paper copies of plans as they are "not in the public interest," etc.

She said; "Applications may be in conservation areas or relate to listed buildings, or a previous application may have been refused by a Reporter, which officials are not always aware of.

"In this developer-led council, 85% of decisions are made by officials, who do not always allow the statutory period for consultation before issuing planning consent.

"It is almost impossible to find out when matters are coming to committee, when they have been approved and by whom, reasons for refusal, etc. or even the existence of applications.

"The community council is the only statutory body in St Andrews and has a responsibility to represent residents in studying applications and lodging objections and comments."

Copies of the letter have been sent to the Scottish Government, COSLA, local MSPs and MP, and the Association of Scottish Community Councils.

See also: Kingsbarns Community Council Objection - for related concerns about the handling of a recent planning application

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