Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Dummy Donor: But Mail and Huhne Dummies on Planning

Missed this Mail story somehow or other. Another dummy donor. Also with an historical association with David Abrahams.

This Buff Huhnery at the end of the story deserves highlighting:

And Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne was in the North-East pushing for the police to investigate the granting of planning permission to Mr Abrahams for a multi-million pound office development at Durham Green.
Objections to the plans were dropped following a £199,000 donation to Labour, although the party insists there was no ministerial involvement in the decision.

Elswhere the Mail on Sunday are being sloppy again and again as it says in Durham City Council's statement of 29 November and as is abundantly clear in the committee report - which we managed to find - the planning consent sought was ONLY for the access roads and necessary remodelling of existing layouts. It was refused when the drawings did not meet objective technical requirements and it was granted when the drawings were altered and did meet those requirements.

But the Mail on Sunday don't seem to get this. They say:

Mr Abrahams's company Durham Green Developments was originally refused permission to build on the 42-acre site on farmland next to the A1(M) in October 2005.
The Highways Agency imposed a ban on the grounds that it might cause congestion.
But in October 2006, his application was approved.

What actually happened was that some highway engineers first ruled the application re access roads unsuitable and then when it was fixed they ruled it suitable. This is not the kind of planning decision - like say "not in keeping" or say "contrary to such and such a local planning document or Unitary Development Plan" or say "likely to cause visual disamenity" where any skill and judgement is required or any discretion offered.

Highways design decisions are supposed to depend only on protractors, curves, dimensions and calculations. There is no reason to suggest this one was any different. Despite all the arrant nonsense from Abrahams and his crew Huhne could look like a dummy over this particular accusation.

Particularly with his own Lib Dem team mates having given the "controversial" planning consent.


Francesca Preece said...

Correct me if I'm mistaken but wasn't ole Huhnie a one-time Labour supporter in his younger years?

Either the Mail have outed Huhne as a stark raving mad Labour lover with cash to spare or the Mail are in serious need of quality journalists.

As for Huhne, He reminds me of a carbon-friendly copy of our prem Brown.

So much for choice. The Lib Dem contest is between another Brown and another Cameron.

Chris Paul said...

Huhnie was atop the Labour Club at Uni, then ran from the left to the SDP, then failed to return. I'm not sure he's much of a Brown-a-like myself. Noticed Guido nursing his bets this morning and saying Cleggie would be the crappier option as Huhne has some vim.