Plan did not need our permission

LAST week, Peter Moffat-Bailey wrote: ”I cannot believe that our Labour council has allowed Tesco to convert the Oddfellows Arms into a Tesco Express.” It hasn’t.

The Town & Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 put pubs and shops in the same use class so no permission was required for Tesco or anybody else to open a shop in the disused pub. For some time now, CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) has been campaigning to change this but the Government has failed to act.

He is also wrong to claim that the decision taken was a party political decision. The only permission required and granted was for a small, single-storey extension. Permission for this was proposed by Cllr Finch (Conservative), seconded by Cllr Wilson (Conservative) and supported by members from both political parties. I abstained.

As ward councillor and a local resident, I spoke about the problems that having a supermarket here would cause to the area with four to five deliveries per day and customers with nowhere to park in an already congested area but all of these problems would have arisen had the shop opened without the extension so were not sufficient to refuse permission. Most of the other members of the committee agreed with me.

I agree that we are adequately provided with local shops in Ore without the need for Tesco but this is not a planning consideration.

Your other correspondent, Fred Pilbeam, is also wrong in saying “This is just another sign of Hastings planning committee listening to residents and traders and saying what do we care about your area or your living.”

Like planning committees throughout the country, we have to follow the laws of the land in making our decisions whether we like them or not. We can only consider matters that are deemed to be material.

I fail to see the relevance of Mr Moffat-Bailey’s statement that most councillors weren’t born here. Those of us who weren’t born here have chosen to live here.

Anybody who attends planning committee meetings and listens to the debate will know that party politics does not play a part. Differences of opinion come from the weight different individuals place on different elements of an application and cross party lines.

A short while ago a newcomer to Hastings attended a planning committee meeting and was asked to identify the political affiliations of the different members who had spoken. They were wrong on nearly every count.


Labour Councillor for Ore Ward