Joint Core Strategy Examination in Public - the plot thickens

On 16th December (the same day they held another of their Policy Group meetings which excluded the public) the GNDP announced on their website that they were awaiting a letter from the Inspector and that it was expected on the 17th December. GNDP also informed us that this letter would be published on the website once it had been received.

On the 20th December the GNDP's website announced:

Following the hearing session on 9 December 2010, the Inspectors advised that they thought a small number of possible changes to the strategy would require advertising, in order to give people a chance to comment.
The GNDP are waiting for the final details from the Inspectors but are able to confirm that the Programme Officer, Louise St John Howe, will be managing the process on the behalf of the Inspectors and will be writing to all interested parties shortly regarding the changes being advertised, details on how to respond and the date by which responses should be submitted.
The Programme Officer’s letter and the Inspectors’ Possible Changes will be published on the website when available.
There seems to be a slight change in strategy here and it is interesting that GNDP chose to word this announcement so that the implication was that there were just a few things which might just possibly need changing and that merely by advertising them and allowing comment then everything would be ok.
The Inspector actually suggested that GNDP needed to consult on their latest proposals (the so called Plan B) and that a six week consultation period would be required. A letter from Sandra Easthaugh, GNDP Manager, is now suggesting that the closure date is likely to be 2 February 2011 - which is six weeks from tomorrow - so one might assume that GNDP propose to issue details on their website within the next 24 hours or so and think that to hold a consultation over Christmas ans New Year is entirely fair and democratic.


  1. Not only the GNDP but I see from the Eastern Daily Press today that Broadland District Council have just cancelled their Full Council meeting for this evening.
    Why would they do that? Is it unprecedented?
    Have they got something to hide? Are they afraid of the scrutiny?

  2. Well, when I asked about the Broadland Council Meeting today, after seeing the post above, I was informed that the meeting was cancelled last Thursday. You will remember that date; it was the 16th of December the date of the contentious GNDP meeting.
    Curiously the email which cancelled it was originated at 1457 on the 16th.
    Even more curious that it should only appear in the EDP today and then in brief.
    So perhaps I do share Scrivener's concerns about the way this council is being run....... Certainly not with any concern for its public.

  3. One positive thing we can say about BDC & the GNDP in general - they are certainly consistent!

    Keeping the public in the dark every step of the way.

  4. From Martin Thrower Monitoring Officer
    Broadland District Council
    Dear Mr Williams

    As a result of concerns raised with me I would like to take the opportunity to put the record straight concerning the cancellation of last evening’s Council meeting and in particular the inference alluded to in some correspondence and on the SNUB web site, that the Council may well have had some ulterior motive for cancelling this meeting. As the Council’s Monitoring Officer I would like to quite strongly refute that this was the case.

    To set the scene there have been comments following a number of recent council meetings as to whether the Council should be reviewing its meeting procedures in particular where meetings are held and there are no decisions for the Council to make which leads to a short meeting. This was highlighted at the October meeting which lasted only 25 minutes at which there were a couple of references from Cabinet which were non urgent decisions which could have been left over until the following meeting. As you will appreciate, the Council has always been a prudent housekeeper but in the light of the current economic climate and in the light of the recent RSG announcement, it is incumbent on the Council to review all areas of expenditure and the decision to cancel the meeting was taken having reviewed all the items on the agenda to establish whether the Council was required to make any decision which could not if necessary, be held over to the January meeting. That review had established that there were no items which required urgent consideration by the Council – I can assure you that if there had been the meeting would have been held.

    In addition, the Council was aware that a number of Members were unable to attend the meeting due to other commitments (the lesson learnt that, for next year, it might be wise to avoid scheduling a council meeting during the festive season) and it was expected that a number of members might have difficulty in getting to the meeting particularly from the more rural parts of the district in the light of the prevailing adverse weather conditions. The latter reason was also applicable to any members of the public wishing to attend the meeting, which again I believe was a reasonable approach for the Council to take which addresses the final comment in your posting that the council shows no concern for its public.

    In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, the Chairman of the Council was consulted on the situation and he authorised the cancellation of the meeting.

    In response to your post on the SNUB website and your “curious” comment I can assure you that the cancellation article has appeared in the local paper (EDP and EEN) at least 5 times with the first occasion being on the Saturday, in addition to appearing on the Council’s website late on Thursday afternoon.

    Finally I would reassure you that all of the business scheduled for the meeting on 21 December will roll onto the agenda for the next meeting on 25 January 2011. I would appreciate it if you could forward on this e mail to your previous e mail addressees.

    With seasonal best wishes.

    I thank him for that clarification.

    This reaction was in response to my observation that this meeting did have matters which were germane to the EiP and to changes being put to the Council to amend Planning Policies..... not least of which is amongst other things an increase in housing density presently limited to the fringe parishes to include rural locations like Rackheath.

  5. There is one very important question which is not explicitly mentioned in the response given on behalf of the Council. It is this:-

    Are decisions at Broadland now increasingly taken outside the normal process of Local Government? This would be a logical conclusion arising from the reducing agenda for the Council and suggests that there has been a sidelining of its democratic role. Only in this way could there be so few matters for the Council to debate at a time when so much change is being proposed.

    Why would you draw this conclusion?
    Well decisions are taken behind closed doors in the GNDP where most Broadland councillors are not party to the debate, merely receiving reports of proceedings and handed down decisions.
    Where non statutory committees and discussion groups are the norm and contrary views are ignored or dismissed.
    The councillors are allowing their role to be eroded and we do not think this is desirable.

  6. The explanation for cancelling the meeting is understandable but still doesn't answer the apparent disappearance of the EiP,NDR,Ecotown and the exemplar scheme from the Broadland news.
    Perhaps Mr.Thrower can help cast some light?

  7. Broadland Resident24 December 2010 at 15:42

    I think we have reached the time when SNUB should get all the Parish Councils and residents in the NE Triangle together to discuss how we can get our Democracy back. The wretched unelected quango GNDP who meets in secret needs to be brought back into the real world, after all wev fund them. Come on SNUB.

  8. Only the residents of the NE Triangle? Residents within the City boundary have expressed their concerns. When the character of the City of Norwich is lost, it is lost to everyone. Alarm at the GNDP proposals extends beyond the Triangle.

  9. Alarmed people might be but why then aren't more people up in arms about these proposals? GNDP seemed to have disregarded the 3,200 signatures collected by SNUB - what more can be done? And who else is going to help?

  10. Maybe we need to consider mass picketing of the GNDP meetings, then they would know how strongly we feel about the shameful way they are behaving. We also need to put up some candidates for elections next May.With a few people on "the inside",we might then know what is going on behind closed doors and be able to fight/influence these plans rather than try to react after undemocratic decisions are made,with apparent unnaccountability or publicity.

  11. You COULD put candidates up for the May elections, but please bear in mind that there are already several Green Party NCC cllrs, and the fact that they are 'on the inside' hasn't given them the privilege of knowing anything of what GNDP discuss/debate/decide.

    If there were more Green NCC members it would certainly strengthen the case for their inclusion. I suggest voting Green, rather than dividing the non-pro-development vote by putting up independents or whatever. And I sincerely hope nobody thinks seriously about voting for the BNP candidate, who is simply exploiting anti-development sentiment for her own neo-fascist ends.

    The whole 'growth triangle' should be made into a major election issue, and work towards that should start very soon. May isn't far away.