How not to communicate

A week or so ago this announcement appeared in the back pages of the local paper.  Can you work out what it’s all about?

We’ll give you a clue – it relates to a planning application submitted in 1988.  As it happens, the application isn’t available on the council’s website, but we guessed that it relates to the Mall.  Note the word ‘guessed’.  The notice might comply with the statutory requirements, but there can’t be much job satisfaction in publishing something that no-one will understand.

Anyway, we went along to the council offices, where the staff were very helpful, but it still took us half an hour to find out a few facts, having waded through some bulky files of drawings and correspondence.  (If only the council had put some explanation in the paper alongside the statutory notice, we wouldn’t have taken up so much of the time of its staff – and the time of council staff costs us all money.)

 Eventually we found that the notice is about removing the following conditions:

“Notwithstanding the provision of the Town and Country planning General Development Order 1977, as amended, details of street furniture, including seats, lighting, refuse bins, trolleybays within malls, direction signs, planters, etc., shall be submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authority before development commences on site…”


“Details of all replacement or relocated shop fronts within the shopping malls shall be submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authority before such development commences on site.”

Now it strikes us that to require a mall owner to submit details of every refuse bin and seat is a bit over the top.  However, we’re not so sure that shop fronts – no matter what their size or appearance – should be replaceable without the agreement of the planning authority.  This is particuarly the case as we think that some of the shops concerned are those facing onto Obelisk Way, outside the Mall.  A sensible degree of control is needed, so we’ll probably submit an objection, opposing any complete carte blanche.

(For the record we should point out that, though the newspaper notice – unhelpfully – fails to mention it, a planning application giving more detail was subsequently published on the council website.  It’s application 17/0257.)

There must be more to life than wading through all this stuff!!


10 thoughts on “How not to communicate

  1. “There must be more to life than wading through all this stuff!!

    You enjoy it really! Just think about your poor viewers who have to read “all this stuff” in case they miss anything :<)

  2. Here we have the new owners of the Mall removing controls they set for the original owner.

    Something smells about this application.
    It would seem that SHBC does not want the existing planning oversight control to remain.

  3. Conflict of interest me thinks.. removal of oversight

    Which ever SHBC department has been created to “manage” the develop the Mall does not want the planning regulation department to maintain their oversight obligation. Normal LA planning rules do not apply to SHBC. Whatever next.. tear up the licensing act for those in the Mall ?

    • Technically, the borough council isn’t running the Mall, and the application isn’t in the name of the council. But that might not mean that the council is uninterested….

  4. Doesn’t this save everyone time and money? Think about the costs of the planning process both for the submitting owner (SHBC) and the planning authority (SHBC) level. There is so much bureaucracy involved and we’re paying for little or no benefit. Does anyone really think the planning authority is going to object to the councils own applications.

    • Adrian, your final sentence is a bit astray. The council’s planning committee not so long ago did, indeed, turn down a planning application submitted by the council regarding Pembroke House in the Frimley Road. But, i), a point that I’ve just made to Sue is that the latest submission ISN’T in the name of the borough council, and ii) are you saying that the borough council should be permitted to go ahead with ANY development without going through the legal approval process that all other developers have to undergo? Remember, council planning applications are submitted by paid council staff; planning approvals are by elected councillors. Two distinctly different groups of people

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