Councillors Left Confused Over Planning Deferral

The Atlantic Inn

The Atlantic Inn

Councillors were left in the dark over the reasons for a decision to defer a planning application by the Atlantic Hotel.

And the Chairman of the Planning Committee turned down a councillors’ request to explain.

The Atlantic Inn and Hotel are now operating as one business and they want permission to paint windows and doors of the listed building and to add new signage.

The Council’s Assistant Chief Executive Craig Dryden resumed his former role to take the planning meeting and recommend approval of the plan.

He believed that the work would be “in keeping” and “very appropriate” using wood and high quality materials.

Cllr Christine Savill also felt that the refresh would bring an improvement. She said the new signage identifying the separate hotel entrance would mean visitors would not end up queuing in the wrong place to check in.

But Committee Vice Chair Amanda Martin felt unhappy about the size and number of signs around the town, although she accepted that her view might appear “like nit-picking.”

That prompted Cllr Roy Duncan to suggest the creation of a new ‘Sign Committee.’

Cllr Avril Mumford’s issue was the choice of words on the sign. She didn’t like the term “Eat and Drink” above the Inn’s entrance.

Cllr Fran Grottick also didn’t like it and spoke out against the signage, while Adrian Davis claimed that the words “Isles of Scilly” were unnecessary.

Cllr Gordon Bilsborough suggested that some members might prefer it if the sign was ‘Olde English’ writing on copper plate.

He pointed out that members were in the 21st century and not the 19th. Gordon believes that people want signs that are obvious.

And he warned that planning decisions had to be made according to planning law and not because of a subjective view, such as if members didn’t like the words used.

The meeting then descended into chaos with members confused over whether they were voting to approve or reject the plans, before proposing a second vote to defer the decision.

Some councillors admitted that they didn’t know what they were voting for.

Cllr Steve Sims said that he was confused and that it was like a “triple negative,” before committee Chairman Gaz O’Neill and Vice Chair Amanda Martin started a side-debate over the process.

Gordon warned members that the brewery could launch an appeal and he asked Cllr O’Neill to outline the reasons for the deferral, in case it was taken to the Planning Inspectorate.

Gaz told the meeting that if the applicant or any local wished to question the outcome, they’d have to go and ask ‘Ace.’ That’s the nickname he uses for Craig Dryden, the Assistant Chief Executive.

The Council will now try to negotiate with the applicant.



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