Responses to ‘independent’ planning consultant review
As you are probably aware HBC commissioned an “independent” review of the Rocklands affair. This review was carried out by Mrs Bahcheli and her report was published on the 23/10/2014.
We have now concluded our review of her report and have prepared three documents for consideration by HBC Cabinet.
After detailed review we are unable to accept the Bahcheli report as we believe it is not independent and consider it to be flawed in terms of scope, accuracy and completeness.
We do not believe that the report covers the major problems revealed by the Rocklands affair. These problems lie within the culture of the Planning department, its complacency, its treatment of the general public and serious procedural and management issues. None of these problems seem to have been addressed at all in the report.
The Rocklands affair has exposed the Planning department’s total failure to protect invaluable public assets in and adjacent to the site. These issues have not been seriously addressed in the report.
We don’t believe the report would survive any external scrutiny in case of an appeal, ombudsman inquiry or public inquiry.
We are very much of the view that the document appears to have been fashioned and drafted to protect the interests of the officers in the council and to justify decisions that have already been made for future applications.
We recommend that the cabinet reject the report and that a new review is undertaken by a suitable company of established expertise and standing to provide surety of independence with properly formulated terms of reference.
The documents submitted are (click for links):