Councillor says she may have "mistakenly misled objectors" about greenbelt planning application

Date published: 15 March 2018

Councillor Carol Wardle, chairwoman of Rochdale Borough Council Planning committee, has said she may have "mistakenly misled objectors" to a greenbelt planning application.

The application is to build 1,000 houses and a link road to the M62 motorway on greenbelt land in Heywood.

Dozens of objections have been received and Councillor Wardle told those leading the objectors: "We [the planning commitee] can only send our recommendation to the Inspectorate, they will then read everything in the body of the report before making their decision."

In fact, if the planning committe refuses the application it would not be referred to the Secretary of State, only if the Council is minded to grant permission would the decision be referred.

In accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Consultation) (England) Direction 2009, if the Planning and Licensing Committee is minded to grant planning permission, the application must be referred to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will consider whether it intends to call in the application or whether the authority may proceed to determine the application.

In an email to objectors, Councillor Wardle said:"I may have mistakenly misled objectors. If committee was minded to grant permission it would have to be referred to the secretary of state who may then "call it in", if we refuse that decision would not need to go to the secretary of state."

Due to the confusion and the misunderstanding, Rochdale Online offered the Council the opportunity to put together an article explaining what can be a complex planning process. The Council's Head of Communications said: "Let me have a think about it."

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