Response from Rodney Stone, Chief Executive, TWBC, to Tunbridge Wells Culverden Ward Councillor David Wakefield - 10 July 2001


TUNBRIDGE WELLS BOROUGH COUNCIL
Corporate Services
Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1RS

Our ref: RJS/ALI

Date: 10 July 2001

Councillor D Wakefield
Jordan House
68 London Road
ROYAL TUNBRIDGE WELLS
Kent, TN11DT

Dear David

TELEPHONE HOUSE

Thank you for your e-mail of 9 July.

I have read the Inspector's Decision letters in detail. While it is true that the Inspector did refer to the draft Local Plan, it is not clear the extent that this influenced him - it was only one of several factors that influenced him on the density issue.

I gave "my assurance" having taken the advice of the Borough Secretary and Solicitor. I still believe that it was correct but that is not the real issue. Even if the Inspector was wrong to take the Draft into account, the only remedy is to apply for Judicial Review. If we were successful the High Court may take two courses:-

  1. quash the planning permission, in which case the developer would reapply with the Draft Local Plan being unambiguously a material consideration. What would our chances be of resisting that - fairly non existent I would have thought.
  2. order the Inquiry to be reheld. At the time of any reconvened Inquiry the Draft Local Plan would be a material consideration. Who would benefit from such a rehearing - it is difficult to see the outcome being different.

Therefore my advice must be that to mount a challenge to the Inspector's decision would, at best, result in an entirely Pyrrhic victory and that such a course would not be a productive use of public money.

The Inspector became aware of the Draft Local Plan because the developer's agent sent him a copy as soon as it became public.

I have passed your comments about trees to Nigel Eveleigh. It may be that it would be technically possible to impose a TPO but I would have serious doubts about the legality and appropriateness of a course of action that would appear to be motivated by a desire to frustrate an Inspector's decision taken after a public inquiry. Do we really want another award of costs against us?

Yours sincerely

RODNEY STONE
Chief Executive



Could the Inspector's decisions have been challenged ?
TWBC Internal Inquiry into the Telephone House Debacle

Bizarrely, Policy H6(a) allocated for Telephone House was identical to the two refused planning applications for the Telephone House development.
[1st: refused at delegated officers' level - 2nd: refused by the Councillors of the Western Area Planning Committee].
Policy H6(a) is the most controversial document, produced by the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, leading to the Telephone House Debacle.