LETTER: I didn’t gag the council leader

I’m writing with regard to the Out In The Field column [Herald, September 16], ‘Good Manners Show People Respect’.

It is ironic that you have accused me of showing disrespect to Cllr DavidTutt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, when you did not have the courtesy to contact me or Wealden District Council, before printing your article, which would have given the opportunity to correct the significant errors in your story.

Cllr Tutt did not ask me for the “okay to speak at a planning meeting”. Cllr Tutt had written to Wealden Council stating his wish to attend and speak at the Wealden planning meeting. However, whilst statutory consultees can make written submissions for the planning committee to take into consideration, public speaking at the meeting is restricted, in the case of a major application, to three speaking in favour and three against. Planning as I am sure you are aware is a quasi-legal process.

Cllr Tutt and I are also both County Councillors and whilst at County Hall I did Cllr Tutt the courtesy of letting him know Wealden’s policy and explained that I did not want him to attend the planning meeting expecting to speak only to be told this was not possible and therefore have a wasted journey. I further explained he could register as one of the speakers and that we would reserve one of the places. Cllr Tutt declined as he did not wish to speak as a member of the public.

Your article clearly states it was my personal decision to stop Cllr Tutt speaking – it was not. A call to me or the council would have been the correct course of action to check the facts which I would ask you to do in future to ensure accurate reporting.

It is doubly ironic that as Eastbourne Council cannot deliver the homes required as part of their Objectively Assessed Housing Need (OAHN) they are asking Wealden to make up the shortfall. Wealden are obliged to consider the request under the Duty to Co-operate so the homes at Broderick, if approved, may be fulfilling Eastbourne’s housing need not Wealden’s.

Bob Standley

Leader, Wealden

District Council

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