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RESOLVED - That Growth Scrutiny Committee refer the decision (DD/025/20/DC) back to the Director of Development to request that it be reconsidered, due to the following concerns:
This extraordinary meeting of Growth Scrutiny Committee had been called to consider the call in of the decision to sell a strip of Council owned land at Park Avenue, Glapwell. This decision had been made by the Director of Development on 7th May 2020. The Committee heard from the Members who called in the decision, followed by the Director, Grant Galloway, with an opportunity to ask questions of both parties.
Prior to the implementation of the decision, a valid call in of the decision had been received on 15th May 2020 submitted by Councillors Tricia Clough; Tom Kirkham and Anne Clarke.
The call in request set out the grounds on which these Members believed the decision was contrary to the decision-making principles. It was published on the Council’s website and attached to the report. In summary the call in raised the following concerns:
· Proportionality - The controversial sale of the land (to a local developer) was rushed.
· Due consultation and the taking of professional advice from officers - Consultation had been minimal and range of advice limited.
· Respect for human rights - Resident needs and the use of the land had not been taken into account.
· A presumption in favour of openness - The decision to sell to one party was not transparent.
· Clarity of aims and desired outcomes - Lack of clarity risked accusations of conflict of interest.
· Regard for equal opportunities - Deprivation of space for disabled, elderly and vulnerable
· Options are considered and reasons given for the decision - Offer to one developer was not justified.
· Consideration of all relevant factors - The sale would have increased pressure on the village which is recognised by officers as at capacity.
· Decision is in the best interests of the District as a whole - The sale was not in the social and economic interests of the District.
The Scrutiny & Elections Officer presented the report to Committee, setting out the papers that had been provided for Members’ consideration and the procedure that would be followed to hear the call in.
Committee heard from the three signatories to the call in, starting with Councillor Tricia Clough as the lead signatory, followed by Councillor Tom Kirkham and Councillor Anne Clarke.
Councillor Tricia Clough outlined her concerns regarding the timing of the decision, the validity of the valuation report, the consultation with ward Members, the holding of the informal Executive meeting that considered the matter, and the impact of the development and this decision on the community.
Councillor Clough stated that the announcement of the decision to sell the plot of land, to enable access to the housing development proposed on the adjoining land, had caused a lot of distress to local residents. During the coronavirus lockdown it had been particularly difficult as it had not been possible to meet with the public to discuss their concerns.
It was pointed out that the valuation report, provided with the background papers to the Committee stated that it only remained valid for 6 months. As ... view the full minutes text for item 3