THE ‘laissez-faire’ attitude of the district council was blasted at a meeting of Chichester City Council on Monday (April 22).
Councillors voted to splash out £1,500 on legal advice for its response to the district council’s draft local plan after they revealed ‘grave concerns’.
Clare Apel proposed the city council seek legal guidance in their response to the consultation – and spend £1,500 on a planning and conservation barrister.
She said she was putting forward the proposal in order to ‘ensure the very best chance of the city’s views being accepted by the district council’.
“I believe it’s our duty,” she added, saying the city council needed to try to ‘mitigate the grave concerns of the district council’s proposals’.
She said this money could come from allocated funds and the amount charged to the city council was below the usual rate.
Out of the 16 councillors present, 14 voted in favour and two abstained.
Cllr Martyn Bell said: “This isn’t an exorbitant amount of money.
“We spent £20,000 on a study that I gather will be put in as a part of our submission to Chichester District Council.”
He said he was happy to go along with the study, provided the council concentrated only on the Whitehouse Farm plan.
“The proposed Whitehouse Farm development is the only development proposed in our parish,” he added.
“We’re the parish council of Chichester.”
He said he did not feel it was the city’s responsibility to discuss the Old Place Farm development and this was the responsibility of Westhampnett Parish Council.
The council will now meet the barrister as soon as possible, in order for a special meeting to be called to finalise the response before the submission deadline on May 3.
Concerning the consultation process, Cllr Michael Shone said it was flawed by a lack of detailed information for those wishing to be part of it.
“The Chichester District Council attitude is laissez-faire,” he said, adding the district council only considered relevant issues once planning applications were made.