It now transpires that pretty much the last legal hurdle the council had to get over has now been cleared, in that the Secretary of State for Communities has decided not to call the development in for review. The Gazette reports one protestor as saying:
"The whole process represents a dark day for local democracy.Nope, it's actually a very good day for local democracy when the Secretary of State (who is herself an MP for a North West seat and a member of a party that has two representatives on our borough council) decides not to overrule the decisions of the democratically elected local representatives.
I've expressed concerns already at the rules that means councillors who state an opinion on developments outside of the council chamber (to the extent that if you are elected on a platform for or against a proposed development, you're automatically excluded from voting on that development) but the fact remains that an absolute majority of councillors voted for this proposal.
What is equally amusing is that the protestor goes on to say that Brandon Lewis has failed to
to engage and captivate local people's imaginationI've only met Brandon a couple of times - and both of those were in passing - but I can say from having attended last week's council meeting that it was quite clear Councillor David Kendall for one would have to disagree, given that under Brandon's leadership of the local Conservative party the number of seats held by the Conservatives on the council has gone from nine to twenty eight.
Speaking as a Tory, if that's a failure, then here's to a lot more of it at the next general election!