Friday, February 08, 2019
One rule for the many, different one for the few
Gateshead Council rightly takes action against those who flout planning rules. If you don't have planning permission for a development that needs it and you go ahead with it regardless, planning officers will come knocking at your door. Continued failure to abide by planning rules can result in legal action taking place. Indeed, this is exactly what took place with a pub in Bensham, Whickham House, which has been hit by a £50,000 fine following failure to remove an advert on the side of the building which had been placed without planning permission.
Sadly for Labour-run Gateshead Council, while applying the rules to the many businesses and residents of the borough, they forgot to get planning permission on place before building a huge new car park at Quarryfield, near the Gateshead Quays. This vast car park was built in time for the Great North Exhibition last year. And then it was pointed out that no planning permission had been granted for the development. Two days before the £700,000 car park was due to open, Gateshead Council granted itself planning permission. To add insult to injury, the decision to spend this not insignificant sum of money on the car park was only officially agreed by the council cabinet three days before it opened.
This rather expensive incident does not put Labour Gateshead in a good light. Residents and businesses could be forgiven for thinking there is one rule for the many, a different one for the few.
And to add even more insult to injury, hardly anyone has used Quarryfield. There is a danger it will become a parking lot for white elephants, though it is unclear whether or not planning permission is required for this change of use!