Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Anatomy of an Inexactitude

...or Matt Rodda's - A Series of Unfortunate Events

December 2010 Planning Application

Application for an extension to 77-81 Whitley Street to create a unit that will be more than twice the size of existing shops.

[I'll skip out my year of discussing this with my neighbours, local businesses, council officers and senior directors and managers in Tesco]

22nd November 2011 Appeal Public Hearing at the Town Hall.

No Labour councillors or 'supporters' present. It was just me, some local businesses and a local resident. There was no written evidence provided by Matt Rodda or anyone else from Labour.
The hearing was suspended, pending evidence for a technical matter.

28th November 2011 Letter

Myself and the one local resident who attended the hearing were written to saying that we were entitled to send further written submissions up to the 9th December.

9th December 2011 Hearing closed to evidence.

16th December 2011 "Labour speak to residents"

Labour when canvassing in Christchurch Road finally started raising the matter with local residents (yeah, I spoke to them) This was a week after the period for evidence had closed and a month after the end of the hearing.

20ish December Labour's Kategrove Banner

Article: Tesco Plan for Whitley Street
Matt says: "I want to hear residents' views."

5th January 2012 Planning Inspectorate Decision Notice

Appeal dismissed.

6th January 2012 Letter to residents from Katesgrove Labour

Matt Rodda writes: "I encouraged residents to write to the inspector and wrote in myself. I also successfully pushed for residents to have extra time to write in"

11th January getReading - No go for Reading's 14th Tesco
From the Reading Post:

Fellow Katesgrove councillor Matt Rodda said: “I hoped I helped as I successfully pushed for more time for residents to feed in comments. I also wrote in myself raising concerns with the inspector.”

12th January 2012 Reading Chronicle

Picture of Labour supporting "residents" celebrating the decison with a bottle of bubbly in The Chronicle.

25th January 2012 Freedom of Information request from the Planning Inspectorate

I have retrieved the appeal file and confirm that there is no correspondence either from or on behalf of, or addressed to Matt Rodda contained on the file. Furthermore, no further correspondence was received after the hearing on 22 November 2011, other than correspondence from the Appellant and Council regarding the technical appendices from the Appellant’s statement; no correspondence was received from any members of the public.
So what are we to make of the statements made by Labour to local residents and journalists as truths stating that:
  • They had written to the Planning Inspectorate with their concerns
  • They had succeeded in getting an extension to the hearing
Neither seems to be supported by the facts.

Someone in the Labour party needs to tell Pinnochio that the first rule of politics is not to get caught.

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