VOICE OF THE FENS: Supermarket-gate U-turn is ethically unsound and bordering on the immoral
FENLAND District Council finds itself in an impossible dilemma over its planning committee decision to reverse refusal of consent by Tesco for a superstore at Eastrea Road, Whittlesey.
Quite why councillors changed their minds in such a short space of time has not been properly explained but the lawyers are already at the gates and the meters are running.
There are unresolved aspects of the planning process that strike at the heart of local democracy and accountability; few would envy council leader Alan Melton as he tries to resolve them.
There are many questions this newspaper would like answered and in particular the justification that councillors might offer for opting to renege on their decision – made in front of 250 people at Whittlesey - to approve Sainsbury’s only and reject Tesco and then approve both just three weeks later.
In this instance there was no advance warning that this was even a possibility and no opportunity was afforded the public to comment.
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Some, and we are among them, regard the procedural devices deployed – even if they prove to be legal - as ethically unsound and bordering on the immoral.
Councils are being urged to practise localism and that means taking account of the will of the people.
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That a handful of councillors have chosen not to explain, is why many now view politicians as taking us all to hell in a handcart.