Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Difficult Decisions

Planning committee this afternoon had one of those decisions that I wish we never had to make. An empty site on a busy road into Stockton, a discount retail chain wanting to build a supermarket on it, residents strongly in favour of it because they want to be able to buy things at a lower price than they currently can in the local shops, policies written relatively recently in an effort to sustain the town centre saying that this supermarket would be too big so close to the centre, the historic buildings officer saying that the building would detract from the listed building next door, but other people pointing out that on the other side is a modern car tyre business, local shop keepers pleading for their businesses - all arguments that can be clinchers in deciding a planning application, but here they just made it too difficult. After an hour or more of debate, listening to residents and questioning the applicants we decided that we'd defer the decision to give the applicants chance to come back with a more sympathetic design. Whether we should give more weight to the hopes for the Town Centre which would benefit the residents in the long term or to the desires of those residents to have what's in reach now is a conundrum for another day.

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