Monday, 19 October 2009

Love Lane Saved From Development

I spoke at a very well attended site meeting last weekend about several new private houses that the Diocese wanted to shoehorn into the Bishop's Kitchen Garden at the back of Bishopscourt in Rochester.

Love Lane residents will be delighted that the Development Control Committee has now turned down the Church's application.

Love Lane is an extraordinarily narrow historic street, charming and rightly romantically named, but not designed with the motor car in mind, let alone construction traffic.


It sounds dull and technocratic but a really worthwhile reform which a Conservative government would bring in is to abolish the rule against pre-determination.

The rule prevents any councillor who is on, or might later join, the Development Control (i.e. Planning) Committee from saying anything in advance about any issue that may come before the Committee.

This is not only an affront to both democracy and to free speech. I also saw last weekend how it leads to a massive waste of time and money.

The Church has now applied and failed twice to secure planning permission. The developer told residents that both times it had applied on the basis that a council officer once told them that access would have to be through Love Lane rather than through Bishopscourt.

If only, they had been able to speak to the Councillors who would take the decision, then those Councillors could have represented local residents and explained that access through Love Lane would be unacceptable, saving a lot of time, money and bother all round.

Photos very kindly provided by Jack Picknell. Reproduced here with permission. Please visit Jack's website at


1 comment:

Paul said...

It sounds to me as if an officer has overstepped the mark. Is anything being done about that?