Copy of Chief Executive Rodney Stone's correspondence to MP Archie Norman - 15 August 2001

Corporate Services
Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1RS

Our ref: RJS/ALI
Date: 15 August 2001

Mr A Norman MP
House of Commons LONDON SW1A 0AA

Dear Archie


Further to the acknowledgement of the 7 August I have now returned from leave. As you rightly say we have taken Counsel's opinion and the results of this were reported to the Council's Operational Services Board on the 26 July.

There seems little doubt that the Inspector did break the relevant procedure rules in dealing with policy H6(a) in the way that he did.

However Counsel advised strongly, and the Borough Secretary and Solicitor agreed with him, that this technical breach would not be sufficient to justify an appeal to the High Court with any reasonable prospect of success. The Operational Services Board accepted that advice and resolved not to take the matter further forward.

I communicated this decision to the Residents Association because it is possible that they may have rights of appeal which are not open to the Council and have advised them to take their own independent legal advice.

Clearly the situation is an unfortunate one for the Borough Council having expended a very significant amount of public money to no result and I am arranging for the matter to be looked at internally to see what lessons can be learnt for the future.

We have been quite lucky in Tunbridge Wells in recent years in not having very major planning appeals. However there are a number of potentially very significant applications that are likely to be coming before the Council in the near future and I would like to feel more confident than I have that the procedures that we adopt at our Planning Committees will be more capable of withstanding extensive scrutiny at Public Inquiries than was the case on this occasion. We will also be looking at our procedures in preparing for major public inquiries.

Yours sincerely
R J Stone
Chief Executive

"... the Borough Council having expended a very significant amount of public money to no result ..."
2 years after the appeal, April 2003 - What is the nature of the negotiations between TWBC and Crest Nicholson?
What can possibly be demanded and what is offered?

Could the Planning Inspector's decisions have been challenged ?

TWBC Internal Inquiry into the Telephone House Debacle

Bizarrely, Policy H6(a) allocated for Telephone House was identical to the two refused planning applications for the Telephone House development.
[1st: refused at delegated officers' level - 2nd: refused by the Councillors of the Western Area Planning Committee].
Policy H6(a) is the most controversial document, produced by the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, leading to the Telephone House Debacle.