Reepham Life has recently posted letters critical of the Town Council and its handling of the planning application for the development of the former station site in Reepham.
However, there seems to be some misunderstanding among members of the public about the role of town and parish councils in dealing with planning applications.
All planning applications are dealt with by the local planning authority, in our case Broadland District Council.
As part of its consultation process it asks for comments from members of the public as well as from local councils.
The decision to grant, or refuse, planning permission lies with the district council – not with the town or parish council.
Because of the nature and scale of the proposed development of the former station site, Reepham Town Council held a special meeting on 1 August dedicated almost entirely to this particular planning application.
Members of the public were encouraged to express their views, whether in favour of or opposed to the application.
Councillors took those views into account during their discussion and agreed that they would support the application in principle, subject to the main issues raised by members of the public and councillors being addressed satisfactorily.
I understand the application will be dealt with in October, when members of the public may have the opportunity to present their views personally to the Planning Committee at Broadland District Council.
With regard to the comments concerning the number of councillors present at the meeting, I can assure everybody that the meeting was quorate.
Regulations require that at least one third of all councillors must be present before business can be conducted, which in our case means that four councillors must be present.
The Council has recognised for some time that we are desperately short of councillors and has been advertising for volunteers to join us for some considerable time, but, unfortunately, with only limited success.
Local democracy lies in the hands of local people, and without the active involvement of local people, decisions affecting all of us will be taken by increasingly remote bodies.
If you want your our voices to be heard locally and at district council level, please join us as town, parish or district councillors.
Les Paterson, Chairman, Reepham Town Council