The Planners BBC2

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The Planners BBC2

Post  Poppyanna555 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:30 pm

Anyone watched 'The Planners' on BBC2? what an eye opener! They filmed Peter Rawlinson (Planning Officer RMBC) and his colleague Rebecca Coley? discussing the appalling plans sent in to extend the Rochdale Mustafa Islamic Centre on Fishwick Street at a cost of a quarter of a million pounds.

The applicants refused to work with the planners in improving their 'unimaginative' design and RMBC recommended a refusal.

RMBC suggested that the site would require parking facilities for 150 cars (their plans were for 3)!

Come the day of the planning meeting, I squirmed as I watched RMBC totally over-ruled by the selected vote seeking councillors and watched in disbelief as the plans were given the go ahead.

So now, Rochdale will be graced with yet another huge carbuncle of a building, totally unsupported by RMBC consisting of a two and three storey extension which will measure 32 metres in length and is nothing more than a long brick wall with no windows.

When I think of all the 'nit picking' some of my friends have been subjected to upon submission of minor applications to RMBC planners and then watching this, I have to ask 'who rules the roost'?






Last edited by Poppyanna555 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:38 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  teamplayer2 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:33 pm

Some very strange planning being passed in Rochdale these days Poppy. scratch
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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Poppyanna555 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:34 pm

Strange TP? downright criminal if you ask me! Evil or Very Mad
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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  johnb on Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:36 pm

Which ever way you look at it, Rochdale has been shown in an appalling light yet again.

There were no surprises though really.

I will be interested to see the subsequent episodes where Rochdale features.
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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Jeanie on Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:58 pm

Poppyanna555 wrote:Anyone watched 'The Planners' on BBC2? what an eye opener! They filmed Peter Rawlinson (Planning Officer RMBC) and his colleague Rebecca Coley? discussing the appalling plans sent in to extend the Rochdale Mustafa Islamic Centre on Fishwick Street at a cost of a quarter of a million pounds.

The applicants refused to work with the planners in improving their 'unimaginative' design and RMBC recommended a refusal.

RMBC suggested that the site would require parking facilities for 150 cars (their plans were for 3)!

Come the day of the planning meeting, I squirmed as I watched RMBC totally over-ruled by the selected vote seeking councillors and watched in disbelief as the plans were given the go ahead.

So now, Rochdale will be graced with yet another huge carbuncle of a building, totally unsupported by RMBC consisting of a two and three storey extension which will measure 32 metres in length and is nothing more than a long brick wall with no windows.

When I think of all the 'nit picking' some of my friends have been subjected to upon submission of minor applications to RMBC planners and then watching this, I have to ask 'who rules the roost'?





Just beggars belief !
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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Spartacus on Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:07 pm

Who were the councillors that passed it?

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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Poppyanna555 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:24 pm

Sparky, a couple of those who were pushing for it were Asian (as was the female 'chair) and I do not know them. Wera Hobhouse was on the panel but was shouted down by the Chair who then literally PUSHED it through saying something along the lines of "anyway, we only have 5 minutes left so can we have the vote now" and no-one (including RMBC) was given any opportunity to argue the toss (well, that's my perception from what I observed). Perhaps it will be shown on BBC I Player?

Before it got to the Planning Meeting the applicants had lobbied their local councillors to take it out of the hands of the planners, they went out to view the site/plans and (like RMBC) were suitably unimpressed and Billy Sheering? was recorded voicing his disbelief at the disproportionate size of the proposed extension.

But Hey Ho, get a couple of their buddies on the panel and they need not have worried.
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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Jeanie on Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:35 pm

Has anybody got the link to this please ?
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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  teamplayer2 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:38 pm

If due process was not observed and all points not taken then could a complaint have been made and the planning permission stopped until investigated?
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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Spartacus on Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:24 pm

Poppyanna555 wrote:Sparky, a couple of those who were pushing for it were Asian (as was the female 'chair) and I do not know them. Wera Hobhouse was on the panel but was shouted down by the Chair who then literally PUSHED it through saying something along the lines of "anyway, we only have 5 minutes left so can we have the vote now" and no-one (including RMBC) was given any opportunity to argue the toss (well, that's my perception from what I observed). Perhaps it will be shown on BBC I Player?

Before it got to the Planning Meeting the applicants had lobbied their local councillors to take it out of the hands of the planners, they went out to view the site/plans and (like RMBC) were suitably unimpressed and Billy Sheering? was recorded voicing his disbelief at the disproportionate size of the proposed extension.

But Hey Ho, get a couple of their buddies on the panel and they need not have worried.

Will try to find it and view.

Hope Rochdale Online cover it in their Council Watch.

Reads like it should be investigated BIG TIME!

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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Poppyanna555 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:29 pm

Well, it looked very suspect to me Sparky but that is my own personal view, others may not see it that way? Mad
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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Poppyanna555 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:25 am

This programme can now be viewed on BBCiPlayer and is Episode 3.

After viewing this again on iPlayer I can confirm that the Chair of the meeting was Councillor Begum. Councillor Zaman acted first in cutting the meeting short by pushing the vote to approve the proposal, quickly followed by Councillor Begum (both ignoring RMBC's concerns, particularly regarding parking). Both Cllr Billy Sheerin and Cllr Wera Hobhouse tried to promote some discussion re' the Councils concerns but (certainly in Cllr Hobhouses case) was unceremoniously shouted down by Cllr Begum.

Karen Danczuk was on the panel (she wasn't seen to utter a word) and her husband was sat in the public gallery (he too made no attempt to question the proposal).

Rebecca Colley (RMBC) made comments at the end referring to this approval being as a vote seeking political decision, and I totally agree.


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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Hinch on Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:37 am

There was nothing at all unusual in this Planning Meeting. It was very much NFR... (Normal For Rochdale)

It was Cllr Begum's usual style of chairing the meeting with a heavy hand. (She is the partner of the Finance Portrfolio Holder, Farooq Ahamed who I note was in the audience along with Simon Danczuk to add possible weight and gravitas to the application by their presence perhaps?) Mr Danczuk's wife was also on the committee pulling faces which was picked up on camera.

Cllr Begum was the one who made the gaffe on her election pitch on RO about her wanting Rochdale to become 'a thieving borough' which was later reprinted in 'Private Eye'.

Well done Cllr Billy Sheerin for standing his ground and to Wera Hobhouse. The more I see Billy at work, the more I have come to like and respect him. He has moral courage which he is not afraid to use.

I was present at an earlier meeting when this application was first heard. To be honest, I read the papers and didn't think it had a chance and said so to one of the application's supporters. He told me they had a plan. He wasn't kidding!

I urge all posters to watch this on BBC iPlayer to see the shambles that passes for debate and democracy in this town.

I was listening to Radio 4 at lunchtime yesterday and they were going on about Rochdale's pathetic attempt to avoid the Council Tax referendum. It was referred to as 'dodgy democracy'. Now you see why.

By the way, shambolic it may have been but there are very strict rules and protocols regarding lobbying of members of Planning Committees who later participate in debate and voting on the application. Councillors regularly absent themselves from that part of the meeting where applications in which they may have been indirectly or directly involved take place. This happened at the Broad Lane housing application. To be fair, Councillors tend to be very careful to stay within the rules although former councillor William Hobhouse once fell foul of them and he was suspended for several months.

The sad thing about the mosque application is that there is no right of appeal by the council as it was voted through by them in effect.

It will be interesting to see how the current parking arrangements will work.

Now watch iPlayer. I promise you it's worth every minute!


Last edited by Hinch on Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:55 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Poppyanna555 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:47 am

Indeed Hinch, this was a real eye opener to me I must admit and will certainly influence my voting habits in the future. The 3 main parties are OUT for me from now on I can tell you, I am disgusted!
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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Spartacus on Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:59 am

Lots of talk on twitter about it this morning.

Graham Yaffe ‏@Albertstan
Shocking expose of sham planning 'debate' in Rochdale with regard an extension to Muslim Community Centre. Disgraceful! #planners #railroad

TIM_Today ‏@TIM_Today
OMG, hope I never have to live in Rochdale. Unbelievable how the councillors railroaded the approval through without full debate #planners

Debbie ‏@purplepickles
#PLANNERS While I think the Muslim centre building should get permission, that meeting whitewash was totally wrong. Chair should be ashamed

RT @Roachaldo : @SimonDanczuk embarrassing to watch #Rochdale yet again shown as a badly run town. Mickey Mouse planning process #planners


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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Hinch on Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:10 am

When I started covering meetings for RO in May of last year, I had never been to a council meeting or sub-committee in my life... apart from one meeting in Rossendale.

My initial feelings? Shocked, appalled, disillusioned, depressed. I am a very experienced committee chairman and have run some very fraught meetings in my time but never anything like I have seen in Rochdale.

Four of the various chairmen/women I wouldn't pay in washers. Bungling, inept, bullying etc. There seems to be no real attempt to detect chairing skills when appointing councillors to these key positions. They constantly have to be reminded of very basic committee procedure by council officers. Some seem only to have a basic idea of how to run an agenda and some members have clearly not read any of the documents prior to the meeting.

Some of the questions asked are very well-rehearsed and have more to do with trying to raise the profile of the questioner than with furthering committee business.

Had I been a councillor at that planning sub-committee, I would have walked out in disgust at the Chair's refusal to allow time for a debate though often, important items are left right at the end of the agenda so that they are pressed for time and rush things through. A very old and overused trick.

Been there, done it and have several tee-shirts to prove it.

One favourite trick years ago by management was to offer a good lunch at the end of the meeting and leave the most important and usually contentious item till last. At the end of a 3-4 hour meeting you'd be ready to nod anything through when you smelt the food being brought into the dining room next door and heard the rattling of plates and cutlery.

I soon wised up and demanded that the agenda be drawn up jointly. Funny thing, management stopped providing lunch after that!

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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Dalelad on Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:27 am

Am I right in thinking that Cllr Begum was only elected last May? And already chairing planning meetings?
I have to say I was appalled by what I saw on the programme last night. I often stick up for the council, playing devils advocate at times just to promote debate but also as an alternative to the seemingly endless negativity, but that planning meeting was unbelievable.
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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Admin on Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:38 am

Yes. First elected last May. A meteoric rise without all the bother of having to travel through space for millions of years first.

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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Spartacus on Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:20 pm

Shocking programme!

What we witnessed from Cllr Begum was an absolute disgrace. Definitely NOT democracy in action. Far from it.

I understood the problems faced by the Mosque and their community. I empathised with them and had no doubts about the need they had to extend and modernise the premises.

Rebecca Cowley (may have mispelt her name) shone through as did Cllr Billy Sheeran.

If there is blame to lay then in my opinion it lies at the door of the communities of this Borough who have have elected these undemocratic Councillors into office and the parties who fail to bring them to account.

The Officers at RMBC have my sympathies.



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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Hinch on Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:26 pm

Lessons will be learned.
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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Guest on Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:35 pm

http://www.rochdaleonline.co.uk/news-features/127/council-watch/77840/bbc-observational-documentary-lifts-lid-on-shocking-decision-to-approve-mosque-extension

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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Dalelad on Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:57 pm

Someone I know very well indeed used to attend governers meetings at schools in her capacity of council officer and was routinely rudely spoken to by a number of long standing councillors who thought that being a councillor gave them the right to ignore officer's advice and respond to said advice with a complete lack of respect and politeness.
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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  past it on Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:58 pm

There is a body of opinion that because planning is subject to strict laws it may be best to leave the decision making to the planners, many simple ones already are.
The reason it is unlikely to ever happen is because constituents want their councillors to vote for them, lobby for them or influence the decision in some way.
Whatever the outcome of an application is, if the decision goes against the planners recommendation there should be a planning reason for it, not I like/don't like it reason. If there is not it is subject to an appeal.

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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  keithatrochdale on Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:00 pm

I thought RMBC had strict policies about bullying and racial prejudice, this must surely break a number of rules - but I will not hold my breath to see if they act!
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Re: The Planners BBC2

Post  Chill37 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:23 pm

keithatrochdale wrote:I thought RMBC had strict policies about bullying and racial prejudice, this must surely break a number of rules - but I will not hold my breath to see if they act!

Well just wait for the well used

"Lessons will be learnt" quote from the PR department.

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