No evidence

Your letters
Your letters

Regarding the ‘Petition signatures gained with aggressive tactics’ (Herald, September 4), the real story behind this article relates to issues with the council planning committee.

This planning committee ignored both the detailed technical recommendation of their own planning officer and indeed made it appear negative that most neighbours wrote objection letters and 100 people in the local community signed a petition against the planning request.

With specific regard to the petition, two female neighbours of impeccable manners raised 100 signatures very quickly from the local community. The notion that this could have been done aggressively is totally ludicrous.

I posted the 100 signatures to the planning department and also sent them the signatures split over two emails because of the size of the attachments - one with five pages of 63 signatures and one with four pages of 37 signatures. The planning department posted all 100 signatures on public view on its website.

At the meeting reported on, Mr Trott spoke after myself and councillor Liza McKinney, saying the petition had been raised aggressively and with bullying tactics. He also derided councillor McKinney for opposing the planning request, in the same way as the council planning officer had refused the application.

Councillor McKinney and I had no opportunity to refute his interpretations and the committee launched into a motion to approve the application, despite the recommendation of the planning officer and the storm of protest from the community.

No evidence of aggressive petitioning tactics was produced by the applicant. Tellingly, the planning committee did not question his outrageous claims and took his version as true.

The planning officer said there were 63 signatures and remarkably this was viewed as 37 being retracted, whereas in actual fact, the planning officer had counted only the 63 signatures in the first email, not the 37 in the second email or the whole 100 posted to them in the mail. There was no evidence of a single signature being retracted.

This goes to the heart of being able to have trust in our local council to be fair to our citizens.

David West

Old Fort Road

Shoreham

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