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Gardiner's Question Time

On 30 Jun 2009 at 1:25pm Ed Can Do wrote:
After the announcement of the planning decision on Malling Brooks, I wrote rather a rude email to Mr Gardiner, questioning the decision and a few other things he's been involved with. It was a rather rude message and full of hyperbole and rumour but to my surprise, he actually replied. There are some points he made which I believe are quite interesting, coming as they do from the horse's mouth so to speak.

"I do serve the public interest to the best of my ability, and I believe the public interest is served by having a more diverse employment base for Lewes, which is what we are advised needs to be done. The town is said by our advisers to be over dependent on public sector jobs, and vulnerable as a result. New flood-protected business premises may well help attract employers to Lewes.

I also have to take account of planning law, SE Plan and Government policy which means we do not always follow advice from local pressure groups.

You may or may not be aware that I received advice in favour of the Malling Brookes site, as well as against it, and not just from business folk.

My own decision on Malling, similar to the majority of committee members, was based on my belief that we would waste a great deal of public money if we refused the application, as there were no planning grounds on which it could be refused. Please note also that whatever my personal view, there are eleven members of the planning committee and we do not confer before the meeting at which we make decisions. (Sometimes this is obvious and sometimes not, but we do not act ahead of the planning committee to make decisions.)
You will perhaps have noted that at the previous meeting I was myself unsure of the planning grounds regarding 'prematurity' which was raised at the meeting (not before), and I spoke then in favour of receiving more detailed information. I don't think this shows we had predetermined the application, nor does postponing the decision twice indicate that. If the further work had shown that we could refuse on the grounds of prematurity I might well have done so, but the legal advice we received was against. There is no point in voting an application down if we know there are no grounds for refusal. It will be passed by a Planning Inspector having cost the ratepayer upwards of £50k in the process.
You also need to get you facts right before you start accusing me of a pathetic record,
1 I wasn't even a councillor when Baxters was decided. I have had no involvement in subsequent decisions about it.
2 LDC have had advice from the Fire and Rescue service (at the time and since) who believe Baxters is safe. I believe that there is still a person speaking adversely on this when the matter has in fact been approved by Fire and Rescue. Even more to the point, the case taken to the ombudsman and the case dismissed by him. I do not think it wise for you or anyone else to make wrong public statement on this, and I will not be making my response to you public..
3 If you can advise what listed buildings I have voted down I would be pleased to hear, as I am unaware of any. The garden wall in Lewes House was not listed, if that is what you are thinking of. I cannot think of any other which you might consider.
4 If you were at the last planning meeting you will have heard that we voted to postpone the Tesco development, and that the committee - in so far as one can tell from what was said at the meeting, because they didn't vote on the principle, only to defer-- were minded to turn Tesco down. You will also have heard me say that I had gone to the meeting in favour of approving the Tesco scheme, but was persuaded at the meeting that the shopping evidence presented was not as clear as it seemed. However we will receive more advice on this and then committee members will again review the information and decide. Thus your statement does not follow from what was said at the meeting. I'd also point out that the Lewes Forum web site had a poll in which a small majority of people were in favour of the Tesco expansion (52 % to 48% before it was taken down from the web - so much for Lewes Forum representing the people of Lewes.)
Perhaps you owe me an apology on these four points.

As to sending Malling to a watery grave, could you perhaps remind people there that
1 the 1:200 year protection EA built is in part because the industrial estate is present, which raised the benefits of protecting this piece of Malling. Cliffe will only have a 1:100 year protection.
2 This development can in no way affect what happens in the river course, as it is behind the Malling protection.
3 the development does not affect the ground water from the chalk which enters the Malling Brooke as the development is wholly on the impermeable river alluvium.
4 it does not affect local surface water levels which are maintained by pumping already. In addition the committee has insisted that this development has surface water storage built in, which will reduce the peak surface water flow, not increase it.
5 as a result of the committee actions there will be

money to support the flood warden scheme
a permanent escape route from the existing industrial estate, running to the north
permanent signage showing the height of the 2000 floods
surface water storage to reduce existing runoff rates
a maintenance programme in place for flood protection systems
All this is on top of what the officers negotiated such as green roofs to hold back runoff etc etc

I do not think we have taken our responsibilities lightly.

If you can show me any evidence at all to the contrary regarding fluvial, tidal, surface and groundwater flooding, I would be pleased to see it. I have looked very hard and read a lot of information in the last months. So far the planning committee have three times taken the advice of EA and they have reviewed all the information supplied by RAID et al. I myself spoke to Professor Mortimore about groundwater, read Dr John Boardman's papers on surface water, and read all the EA evidence on flooding. I do not take these matters lightly, and think that if one looks dispassionately at this development it will enhance the possibility of future flood defence of the Malling housing, and not adversely affect their present situation."
On 30 Jun 2009 at 1:32pm Spongebob wrote:
Well that told you Ed !!!!
On 30 Jun 2009 at 1:45pm Lets Do Lunch! wrote:
LOL! It looks as if Baxter's is a sore point with the planning department!!! If the planning department had fully briefed Cllr Gardiner about his reply to you, he would be aware that there were three separate Ombudsman's complaints regarding the planning department FAILURE to consult the fire and rescue service BEFORE the planning application committee meeting. Funny enough I have copies of letters written by the fire and rescue service stating that they are unable to gain access to St Nicholas Lane. As for his belief that "there is still a person speaking adversely on this" he needs to realise that there are several people (possibly 10's+).
The ombudsman is a service funded by local government and therefore it is a biased service. The ombudsman is able to use "discretion" when he/she chooses to do so and can therefore decide that no wrong-doing has occurred even when it clearly has. The public need and deserve a fair and unbiased service.
On 30 Jun 2009 at 3:47pm Tax Payer wrote:
Am seriously impressed that this forum could be considered public opinion - POWER TO THE PEOPLE - interesting to wonder where responsibility forBaxter'slies if not planning? talk about slopey shoulders - OOOH that law was passed before I was in power so I do not have to do anything about it - P'Ah! - in power t support and serve - so get on with it and stop vacillating
as for Baxter's access - the Coucil bin men cannot get into the lane - the Council Gulley ceaner can not gt into the lane - so please explain how a simon-snorkel or platform fire unit can gain access ? - be lucky if a pump-escape could get in - if so it would then need to reverse into a more main road that the one it was exiiting - unless of course it reversed in (in a hurry?) in the first place
isn't our council funny
On 30 Jun 2009 at 3:51pm LTR wrote:
Just so you can reply to Cllr Gardiner, The Ombudsman did not 'dismiss' any 'case' regarding Baxters, as that is not what they do, and didn't. What they told three complainants was that LDC 'would' have consulted Fire and rescue at the Planning stage. Unfortunatelt the Ombudsman didn't check to see if they actually did. They have a reputation for such bias, so no-one, including Cllr gardiner pursued the error. What we now know is that Fire and rescue weren't consulted at the planning stage, although they did write a letter saying that they had difficulty getting a fire engine into the lane. LDC officers still erroneously think that access to St Nicholas lane is not a planning issue. Sadly Cllr gardiner is biased, and dumb, so will not check his facts before spouting out the information he gets from officers, unchecked. So just ask him if Fire Acces to St Nicholas lane is a planning issues, and if so why LDC officers told everyone at the decision meeting it wasn't, and why years later he was repeating the mistake at a meeting which Cllr 'biased' Gardiner attended. Surely he knows planning law, even if his officers don't! The best thing to do is ask him to send you a copy of the ombudsmans view that fire access isn't a planning issue, because he can't.
The fall out is that the fire officer wasn't consulted at the correct time, and requirement he later requested, (that we were all told would be included in building control process), such as SPRINKLERS! haven't been! You can all see for yourselves that there the required turning circle (East Sussex Act) but it cannot be used as it has parking spaces plonk in the middle of it !(planning policy requirment not to lose them). This is a planning dilemma, and a planning issue, and why it should have been considered. Cllr Gardiner doesn;t know about this, because he has never contacted the residents concerned just the officers who made the mistakes in the first place. Hardly intelligent unbiased research by a professor, is it!?
I despair at the mans ignorance, wrapped up in pompous contempt for the very people he is supposed to be protecting from such a tangled mess.
I think I know who he thinks the 'one person is' and Cllr Gardiner should stop indulging in accusations about them, becuase they are certainly not the only one who knows LDC cocked up, and that includes the Fire officer himself. Perhaps Cllr gardiner should have a word with him before he continues to insult his own electorate. Lots of us know about the mistake, and it ain't going away. Lets all just hope there isn't a fire before they do something about it.
On 30 Jun 2009 at 4:13pm Your friend in the North wrote:
Councillor gardiner really cannot help himslef can he? He bases all his veiws on what officers tell him, and takes all their comments as fact. they are not always correct, and he fails to understand that this is where the problem lies. He laso allowed a situation to continue, whereby Councillors were prevented from meeting with the elctorate by officers. He seems to have forgotten that was going on in his watch, and that it was his officers that mislead him and it only came out that they were doing this, by accident. At least one resident I know of had been complaing about this illegality for years, to no avail.
As he is so keen to believe (inaccurately) the Ombudsman, Peter Gardiner should know that the Ombudsman did find fault with the Council on 5 accounts regarding a cock up in Albion St. They identified administrative fault because officers failed to incloude a material consideration in the report. It involved an unexplained 'loss' of a document that turned up accidentally in a confidential file, where it should not have been, and which was accidentally given to a member of the public. That is why Baxters is so bad, as the failure to consult Fire and Emergency, (another material consideration) not only occired after the Albion St debacle, but like that shameful mess, LDC were also warned about it before the decision was made.
It is a legal requirement, and Cllr gardiner is simply aligning himself to the mistake. He is such a silly man, he is happy to come up with some ludicrous conspircay theory about and 'individual' but seems unable to ask them about their concerns, and what their evidence is. Councillor gardiner is clearly just a lap dog to LDC officers like Kim Clarke was and, they must be laughing behind his back.
On 30 Jun 2009 at 4:25pm bonfirek wrote:
The Ouseworks has been built, get over it, if it catches fire so be it! Perhaps you'd prefer it be knocked down, but then where would the poor DFL's go?!

On 30 Jun 2009 at 4:52pm Poppycock wrote:
Spoken like an outsider bonfirek. I am surprised at your apparent support to the planning process, the destruction of the conservation area and your disregard for fellow beings.
On 30 Jun 2009 at 4:56pm bonfirek wrote:
Born and bred in Lewes cheers mate. It's outsider i'm not over keen on, also nimbys and middle class dandy ponces annoy me as well. In fact most people that now live in Lewes i abhore!
On 30 Jun 2009 at 4:59pm Spongebob wrote:
I like you Bonfirek...we must go for a pint one day
On 30 Jun 2009 at 5:08pm Poppycock wrote:
You sound like Charles Style, Martin Elliott or a member of the planning department.
On 30 Jun 2009 at 5:14pm Geoff wrote:
This local thinks that there are two issues.
One is that it is not good enough to have a large block of flats in a narrow lane without a proper turning circle for fire engines. It would be nice to think that our own representative might care enough about people's safety to have the same concern.
Second. Whatever cock up resulted in this very obvious mistake that Councillor Peter Gardiner seeks to support, it should be identified, and a re-occurence prevented.the fact that the Ombudsman didn't notice, is more of a comment on the Ombudsman that LDC, We can see the evidence, whatever LDC, Gardiner or the Ombudsman says.
Bonfirek-keep taking the anti-depressants.
On 30 Jun 2009 at 5:15pm Geoff wrote:
This local thinks that there are two issues.
One is that it is not good enough to have a large block of flats in a narrow lane without a proper turning circle for fire engines. It would be nice to think that our own representative might care enough about people's safety to have the same concern.
Second. Whatever cock up resulted in this very obvious mistake that Councillor Peter Gardiner seeks to support, it should be identified, and a re-occurence prevented.the fact that the Ombudsman didn't notice, is more of a comment on the Ombudsman that LDC, We can see the evidence, whatever LDC, Gardiner or the Ombudsman says.
Bonfirek-keep taking the anti-depressants.
On 30 Jun 2009 at 5:17pm Geoff again wrote:
On 30 Jun 2009 at 8:55pm bonfirek wrote:
Don't worry i'm quite chipper, i think my anger may be due to me stopping smoking though! Oh and bloody halfwits p*ssing me off as well! Lewes for Lewesians thats what i say. Hang Tom Paine in effigy from the nearest lamp post and destroy him by fire, it's the Lewes way.
On 30 Jun 2009 at 9:17pm Lopster wrote:
lovely if this thread wre to make its way to Gardinept's In Box....
On 30 Jun 2009 at 11:09pm Spinster Of This Parish wrote:
I bet some wag in the planning department must be on his knees laughing at Mr Gardiners constant failure to realise when he is being wound up by his officers. What a riot!

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