A LETTER in (July 21) states that the planning committee should not be deciding an application by a hospital because we have “no experience whatsoever”, which I take to mean we are not health experts. That comment is totally irrelevant to the consideration of a planning application.

The planning committee is a quasi-judicial committee that are only allowed to consider matters on planning grounds, not whether we individually agree or disagree on the original merits or purpose of a proposal. My position on the hospital merger is well known, but it is totally irrelevant as to whether the building proposals are approved or not. I and others will have to judge what is put before us on pure planning committee terms, and not pre-judge the proposals. To do otherwise would be illegal and open up BCP Council up for costs and a legal challenge.

The time for councillors to comment on the merits or otherwise of the merger proposals is gone and past, by at least two years. Only the government can alter the grand plan. People need to understand how things work and make their representations at the appropriate time, which brings another issue forward.

The government just prior to lockdown proposed that developers can add extra storeys to buildings in some circumstances without seeking planning permission, under the “permitted development” scheme, now that is something there is still a chance to influence. A letter to an MP now might influence that. Once it’s in place neither planning officers or councillors will be able to stop such controversial additions to buildings. It’s all about timely representations, and dare I say not letting MPs hide away from their role as representatives of the people.


BCP councillor and planning committee member Fraser Road, Poole