It wouldn’t have been so bad if Councillor Taylor hadn’t laughed as she passed sentence on us and then amplified her arrogant and dismissive attitude by announcing to us and to all the Councillors and other attendees of the Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council Planning Control Committee that “It’s not going to disrupt their lives too much!”

What was, supposedly, not going to disrupt our lives too much? The absurd cramming of seven new houses into the car park of unused offices that, themselves, were going to be converted to a further 7 houses. A classic case of over development of a brownfield site that is totally unable to support the influx of, probably, 28 cars and 30 or so people with their visitors and deliveries. Oh, and there is no gas within 300 metres of the site and a water main which barely served the limited needs of the offices. We dread to think about the drains.

But we get ahead of ourselves. We were only at the meeting because we suspected there were cosy and, perhaps, rewarding little relationships being forged between the Council and the Applicants for the development. We also, naively, expected that the Committee would recognise and accept the truth.

The problem we all have to deal with is that our Councils are made up of people with little or no professional experience of the areas for which they responsible. We’re sure their advisors and the members of the various technical departments are well qualified and well aware of the pursuasive methods that Applicants could use. But these advisors are not at the meetings that either approve or dismiss Planning Applications. So when the Architect for the Applicants was clearly very economical with the truth there was, conveniently, nobody there to say “wait a minute – that’s simply not true.”

But, of course, maybe it’s not entirely the Councillors’ fault if they get things wrong at the time. However, when they refuse to accept responsibility for their mistake 8 months later, when the untruths (or is it ‘alternative facts’?) are still untrue (or ‘alternative’) then we feel more than a little aggrieved

We feel betrayed. We feel that the hours dealing with all the people involved (not just the Councillors but also the several technical folk) are in danger of being dismissed as the NIMBY behaviour of disgruntled neighbours.

But this is NOT a NIMBY issue. It is one of malpractice and malfeasance in Public Office.

And we’re going to prove it.

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