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Jungle Fun and Crazy Golf demolition - update following Lib Dem challenge of process followed.

September 1, 2016 8:46 PM

Following the news that EDDC decided to press ahead with the demolition of Jungle Fun and the Golf without taking into account the proposal was opposed by 4 out of the 7 councillors present at the Exmouth Town planning meeting, Lib Dem Councillor Steve Gazzard challenged the planning officer as to whether the correct procedure was followed.

Steve wrote:

Please would you be so kind as to clarify for me regarding the decision on the Jungle Park and Crazy Golf Demolition Application, Queens Drive, Exmouth. As you will be aware the application went to Exmouth Town Council Planning Committee and was recommended for refusal. If I am correct I understand that the application has now been approved by delegation. As long as I have been an EDDC Cllr. and attended many DMC meetings the policy appeared to be any planning application from staff of EDDC or planning application on behalf OF EDDC went to Full DMC irrespective of whether Ward Members supported or objected to the relevant application. I would be most grateful if you could explain to me why this application has not followed the same procedure.

Many thanks for your assistance and I look forward to your reply.

Best wishes,

Cllr. Steve Gazzard

Steve received a response, the full version which is printed below. The gist of it sems to be that approval was not needed in any case because it was an application for demolition, as these are permitted developments due to prior notification being received.

This has left more questions than answers, such as why send it to Exmouth council in the first place, and and what the restoration of the site referred to means. Also worthy of note that the planning officer states he can approve planning items himself now providing there are no recorded objections, and they don't need to go to the committee.

Dear Councillor Gazzard

Thank you for your attached e-mail. You are of course correct that historically planning applications made by EDDC have all been reported to committee as a matter of course. This was actually changed in the latest version of the constitution agreed at this year's Council AGM such that I have delegated powers where there are no objections to the proposal. I include this for your information but it is not entirely relevant because the application you refer to was not for planning permission but was a prior notification for demolition works. This is not the same thing as a planning application as the demolition works are permitted development and do not require planning permission subject to the developer applying for prior approval of the means of demolition and the proposed restoration of the site. Applications for prior notification are delegated to officers regardless of who has applied and any objections because they have to be determined within 56 days or the applicant automatically gets permission. There is not therefore often insufficient time to report such applications to Members before the determination period elapses and so it was previously concluded that the constitution had to allow these to be delegated to officers in order to determine them in the given time frame.

Clearly we do not get many prior notification applications for demolition and so this does not happen very often and so I fully understand why this has caused some concern and confusion. I do not know on what grounds the Town Council objected as the comment to us was simply "objection" but we could only consider issues associated with the means of demolition and the restoration of the site. If their concerns related to any other issues than these then Members would not have been able to consider them in any event.

I hope that my comments help to explain what has happened and why.

Kind regards.

Ed Freeman
Service Lead - Planning
East Devon District Council