Liberal Democrats refuse to let planning transparency drop

Oldham’s Liberal Democrats are set to pursue alternative ways to deliver improved transparency for local planning decisions, following a Labour Party vote against adopting recommended standards from global anti-corruption organisation Transparency International.

Following the vote at the September meeting of the Council, the Liberal Democrats are now pursuing the policies – intended to restore trust between the public and the Council – by putting them forward for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee of the Council.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Mark Kenyon, who proposed the motion, said: “I fail to understand why the Labour Party would vote against a motion designed to improve transparency and build trust with the public.

“The two reasons given did not make any sense. The recommendations have been specifically designed for local councils to adopt, so the suggestion that these were anything to do with national planning law is just incorrect. They also said that they were happy for it to be discussed by a council committee, which is exactly what the motion proposed. If they wanted it discussed by a particular committee, they should have just asked for it to go to that committee.”

The motion was based on the charity’s report Permission Accomplished, aimed at improving practice in local councils across the UK.

Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani, who seconded the motion, added: “As we made it clear in proposing this, there is a clear lack of trust from the public in the planning process. That needs addressing.

“While national planning law is part of the problem, we don’t need to wait for that to change before addressing how we respond to people here in Oldham. There are changes we can make right now. I hope that the Labour Party will be more open to this in the future.”

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