I greatly admire Porthleven Town Council (TC), not just because I am part of it, but for the people who are members of it. These individuals turn up at least once each month for the meeting, in all weathers. They are not paid, they do this not because they like to be called Councillor, but because they have a sense of civic duty to the place they live (I am only speaking about Porthleven’s Cllrs). They try their best. In fact they have very limited powers, but the powers they do have they try to do what’s best for the Community.
The point of this blog is how Town and Parish Councils deal, and are dealt with on Planning. They are only Consultees (“we like to hear your views as long as they are the same as ours” type of thing). The Planning matter in question is a Grade 2 listed Building that, to be honest, looked like it was going to fall down anyway. The new owner applied and got planning permission to, lets say, make it look like it should.
Sadly an Accident happened. A JCB accidently knocked (I could repeat accidently alot) this unsupported building. The pre-commencement conditions did say that, before any work was to be carried out, the building should be supported. On another point, none of the Planning Conditions prior to commencement of work were even carried out (work that one out for yourself).
The TC were to say mightily miffed at what had taken place and thought Cornwall Council would act. Did they act? Yes they did. I have to say they did act pretty quickly on this matter but, and here is the nub of the matter, the Enforcement and Conservation Officers thought they had a case against the applicant. That was until the Lawyers got their hands on it. It turns out that there is some ambiguity on certain wording on the plans. (why didn’t they pick this up before approval!!). The advice (hahaha) from the legal bods was they might not win the case as they could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that there had been a breach.
Is that Lawyer speak for we won’t fight a case unless we are sure to win it? My point is why do those in the Legal world seem to only act if it’s a sure thing. How do they know they won’t win? You have to sometimes at least attempt to defend a point, or else it might give the impression you don’t care or you can do what you like.
As for the matter of it was Grade 2 listed. Well, if you speak to English Heritage who are the ones you would think would be miffed on this matter, their response was (this is going to make you laugh) “We are only really concerned on Grade 1 and Grade 2 star.” So you may ask yourself, what’s the point in having Grade 2 if they who take an interest in these matters are not bothered about Grade 2. To the layman you would think Grade 2 is important, but in reality it’s not. We might as well be done with it and have a system that the authorities would be willing to defend.
I think those in the TC would just like to be able to play with a straight bat. That way they might feel they are not just peeing into the wind.