|Welcome to Student City!
||[Mar. 8th, 2016|08:59 pm]
Yesterday we learned the Planning Inspector's decision on the County Hospital appeal: she has found for the developer, who were appealing against the Council's refusal of planning consent. Now they can go ahead with their plan to build student accommodation on the site. If you arrive in Durham by train, and walk down the hill to the North Road, where now you see on your right a rather neglected area of garden and trees partly screening a nineteenth century hospital surrounded by newer buildings, you will be able to glimpse the old hospital between two monolithic blocks, a sort of Great Wall of students. That'll be better, won't it?
I'm immensely disappointed, but not surprised. Thr Council's performance at the appeal hearing was pathetic: they were represented by a consultant who didn't seem familiar with the case, a planning officer who was familiar with it, but appeared to be under instructions to say nothing unless asked directly. Fortunately the local residents were there to make the Council's case for it. You could be forgiven for thinking that the Council didn't actually want to win.
But that couldn't be the case, could it? Of course, when the application was first considered by the Planning Committee the officers recommended acceptance and the elected members overruled them, but surely it's our democratically elected Councillors who have the final say? Once they have decided, the officers carry out their policy, don't they?
The full story on the City of Durham Trust's website (and specifically, their press release on the decision).