Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 27°C

min temp: 17°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Mid Suffolk: District council facing legal bills as Suffolk Wildlife Trust cut planning advice

09:00 16 January 2013

Mid Suffolk District Council in Needham Market.

Mid Suffolk District Council in Needham Market.

Archant

A COUNCIL could lose hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal costs over its planning decisions, a councillor has claimed.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust is due to cut back on the level of advice it gives to planning authorities throughout the county.

In a Mid Suffolk District Council executive meeting on Monday councillors discussed the problem and how it would affect their planning department.

Opposition leader Andrew Stringer said: “We have a duty to protect wildlife and protect species and we want it remaining a strong priority for this authority.

“If we do not get the advice right to protect applicants and protect species then we are open to legal challenges.”

He said the council should look at employing a freelance ecologist to provide advice.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust contacted the council last November to tell them about the changes, which would see it provide advice only in what the council calls ‘limited circumstances’.

The council has said it would be open to potential legal action and subsequent ‘financial consequences’ and complaints if appropriate ecology advice is not part of its planning decisions.

Derrick Haley, leader at Mid Suffolk said: “We need to find someone to do it, which is why I wanted to ask the question in the meeting, but that is the first time we have seen it brought before the executive.

“It’s not a big risk but we have to cover it and identify someone to take it onboard.”

James Meyer, conservation planner for Suffolk Wildlife Trust said: “Our letter to local planning authorities was to clarify our role as a consultee in the planning process and ensure that our work focuses on applications where our expertise can have the greatest benefits in protecting and enhancing biodiversity.

“We are not withdrawing from being involved in planning applications; rather, we are trying to ensure that our and the council’s time and resources are being used in the most efficient and beneficial way.

“We have explained to the planning authorities what types of applications we wish to be consulted on and also where else they can obtain ecological information.”

A spokeswoman for Mid Suffolk said: “The council is exploring alternative sources of ecological advice for those lesser applications upon which Suffolk Wildlife Trust is unlikely to respond to in future.

“In each case the council will consider what information is available within all the application documentation, including that provided by applicants with their applications as well as Natural England and others, in order to safeguard its statutory duties.

“In the circumstances risk will be considered on a case by case basis.” The changes to planning advice will come into effect by the end of the month.

0 comments

Essex Police are attempting to find the owners of photos on storage cards seized by officers at Stansted Airport.

As part of an investigation into theft at Stansted Airport, Essex Police are attempting to trace the owners of images found on digital storage cards.

Marcus Evans

Brazilian police investigating allegations of Olympic ticket-touting have released emails between a senior Irish official and Ipswich Town Football Club owner Marcus Evans.

Traffic on the A14 is being diverted using the entrance and exit slip roads. Image: Keith Mindham

The A14 at Bury St Edmunds has reopened after a woman who was spotted on the wrong side of the bridge at junction 44 was talked down by officers.

Andrew Bloomfield took this photo of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service fighting the fire in the old Fisons building in Paper Mill Lane, Bramford.

A fire at the old Fisons building in Paper Mill Lane, Bramford, has been extinguished.

Tower Ramparts, Ipswich, as staff poured from William Prettys works in the mid 1890s

The site of one of Ipswich’s major employers until the 1980s - Willaim Pretty’s - is now a car park, writes David Kindred.

The RNLI at Aldeburgh investigate an empty boat that turned up on Wednesday 24th August.

A yacht named after a lucky star had the good fortune of being rescued off the Suffolk coast today having drifted unmanned past Britain’s biggest container port.

Abellio Greater Anglia managing director Jamie Burles.

The average speed of trains between London and Ipswich will be cut to just over an hour in three years’ time – but the Ipswich in 60 ambition will depend on Network Rail carrying out improvement work.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24