The main item on the agenda at the Vale District Planning meeting last week (12 March 2013) was the outline planning application for 85 homes on AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) land on Chain Hill, Wantage.

The application came to the Committee because Wantage Town Council had objected and also 28 letters of objection had been received.

In the discussion prior to the vote, there were two comments which gave me concern.

Firstly, one Councillor stated that because there were no objections from the County Highways even though there were concerns about the width of the road Councillors can’t go against this advice.

A Second Councillor also stated that if they turned down a planning application the developer would go to appeal and it would not in the public interest for the Council to let it go to an expensive appeal (although this hasn’t stopped them turning down the application for Drayton – which the Herald has told us will go to appeal).

So do Highways and developers take planning decisions, because it’s very clear that the Planning Committee doesn’t.