[Bell Historians] Cornhill / CofE Accountability

Andrew Wilby andrew at x3K84gKzzlwxyV3sdJiuoIv5n5p6WJmYhoJHQhCHUezfz2lWdrWqOiBEd-I_WgZAXTW3tbD04_Fhq8o.yahoo.invalid
Tue Jan 8 16:20:54 GMT 2008

I think we may be getting into the area of myth and malpractice here 
which diverts us from the issue raised by David.

To declare an interest, I have found myself serving on a District 
Planning Committee since last May and also on a development corporation 
I can understand the views expressed but I have found the actual facts 
to be somewhat different.

Most applications are dealt with under delegated authorities by 
officers, only the difficult ones come to committee.

All decisions have to be based on Planning Law and various forms of 
government planning guidance. These committees are quasi judicial and 
care has to be taken not to let personal predjudice enter into the 
decision making.
Decisions are subject to Appeal with costs awardable against an 
authority if it has made an unsustainable decision.

If Planning Committees do get carried away with prejudiced views then 
that is undefendable.

Recent experience has made me wonder though, whether or not we would be 
better off without the Faculty Measure. What can we say of the costs of 
the whole process and the number of vested interests it appears to 
support in a time of falling congregations and revenues.
It is part of the Diocesan gravy train which keeps running at our expense.

The requirements to deal with civil planning applications in public and 
within a set timescale does prevent prevarication.

There is a difference of circumstance though.
Parishioners, as pettitioners in seeking a faculty, are asking 
permission of the church owner, the diocese, if they can do something to 
the building. It is something of an internal affair.

Planning Authorities in contrast, are there to administer the planning 
controls over other peoples property and consequently the impostion of 
time constraints on the process is justifiable.

Whilst, as in the case of Cornhill you can go through the process and 
then find that the Chancellor can take as long as he likes in making a 
decision, it would have to be an internally impose time discipline, 
possibly be the General Synod, and I can't see that happening.

The other pertainent question is why we cannot have something less than 
an expensive Consistatory Court to determine that which the Chancellor 
feels unable to.

The Chancellor presiding over a committee, exactly like a Planning 
Authority Committee, would be far less costly, less intimidating and 
provide the Chancellor with the advice and support required to make a 
decision. It might also run to some sort of timetable.

With regard to identification of objectors, I guess that sadly to some 
people "talking over the matter" with an objector will become an 
Actually in practice objectors views are frequently irrelevant to the 
points of planning law that have to be addressed and do not affect the 
outcome. Most applicants can estimate exactly from where objections are 
likely to come from and do their own local PR/consultation anyway.

If the Faculty Measure were to be scrapped I wonder what the upsides and 
downsides would be and where the balance of advantage would lay.
The Diocese would become the applicant for permissions and that would 
change an attitude or two? It would also save a small fortune!



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