Sunday, 27 March 2011

Richmond Council planning chief 'got special treatment'

The council’s planning chief got “special treatment” when she consulted her department’s director about a restriction on her own house, it has been claimed.

Councillor Virginia Morris, cabinet member for environment and planning at Richmond Council, told the authority’s environment director Paul Chadwick she did not want to erect 1.7m side screens on her balcony.

“She has had access to meetings with the director of environment and planning which ordinary applicants would not be afforded.”

Councillor Stephen Knight, leader of Richmond’s Liberal Democrats, said: “The concern is that this could well be seen as inappropriate special treatment being given to a councillor.

She was granted permission for a balcony without side screens on January 21, 2010, but objectors contacted the council and the planning committee ruled on February 17 this year that she did, in fact, need to put them up.

My comment: Nepotism is a fact of life in councils particularly planning departments. Normally, however, these 'favours' don't come to light because we have such a weak system of administrative justice and scrutiny in this country. If a councillors don't identify the problem themselves, as in this case, their is very little chance of a discredited Local Government Ombudsman or any other watchdog doing do. 

Even whistle blowers are now being financially encouraged by councils to sign gagging agreements to stop the truth about favours and other wrongdoings getting into the public domain.

Read the full story from the source Richmond and Twickenham Times More information from Out Soon

Read all articles about Lambeth Council (LB) on this blog

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