Like most people I am angry and irritated that Councillors on the East Riding Planning Committee today bowed to pressure from Council officers and the Independent Planning Inspector and gave permission for this development.
Thanks to Goole North Councillor, Anne Handley, for standing firm with us and voting against the application at the Committee. Cllr Liz Sargeantson spoke out against the application to the committee on behalf of her and Cllr Caroline Fox. I was worried when I saw both the Independent Planning Inspector's report and the Council planning officers recommendation that Councillors were being cajoled very much to supporting the application.
As residents know, I am trying to get this application taken off the Council and decided instead by the Secretary of State under a procedure known as 'call-in'. The Secretary of State has said he will consider this, so the decision to approve from the Council today cannot be implemented until he has decided on that.
Getting an application called-in is tricky and is normally reserved for major planning applications, so this is something of a long shot. Unlike on other matters, on a planning issue such as this, Ministers are not just free to make whatever policy decisions they like. They are operating in a 'quasi-judicial' role and are strictly controlled by statutory rules and policies. When I was a Planning Minister myself in this Department, I often had to consider planning appeals and call-in requests so I do know how constrained Ministers can be on such matters. My officials would remind me regularly of the constraints on me when taking such decisions!
However, I am trying my best as I will not rest until we have tried every avenue to prevent this filthy unwanted operation!
To operate, the site will also need an Environment Agency permit which I have also been opposing.
This is a bad blow for us today, but we aren't quite at the end of the road yet. Thanks so much to everyone in the community who has worked hard to try to block this.