Thursday, 20 November 2008

Plastic Windows. 7 Years 9 Months and counting

At the meeting of Hartlepool Council on October 30th I tabled a motion requesting resolution of the on-going "plastic windows" issue in Hartlepool Conservation areas. I agreed that this motion be passed to the planning committee for action and it has now appeared on the agenda for the meeting of November 26th 2008. Unfortunately this item is being dealt with under "pink papers" which means I am unable to reveal any of the significant details without risking being hauled before the Council Standards Board.

However, my understanding of the rules, in my opinion, does not prevent me from noting that one of the properties in question have been waiting since 2001 for this situation to be resolved. The report does say that this situation was brought to the attention of the "planning working group" in July 2008 who "noted the position". Having the threat of legal action hanging over your head for over 7 years seems to be unreasonable to me and the Council should do a bit more than note the position. The confidential report makes two recommendations, one of which is to do nothing "defer any decision" until 17th December when another meeting will be held to discuss the new draft policy relating to windows in the conservation area. So even after 7years and 9 months the Council are still trying to avoid making a decision.

I am not going to say how I will be voting on this motion as that could leave me open to charges of "predetermining my position" and hence not be allowed to remain in the meeting due to conflict of interests. I will of course listen to the discussions on both sides and then vote as the arguments convince me to do!

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