Skelmersdale West County Councillor, Julie Gibson, has reacted with dismay that she is not allowed to address the Development Control Committee (taking place virtually) on a planning application for Whitemoss Landfill site, due to come before the Committee on Wednesday 20th January. The application is for retrospective planning permission for the erection of 3 silos.
Cllr Gibson said: “As the County Councillor for the area I requested to speak at the Committee on a number of issues that residents have raised with me on the application and on objections I raised when the application was published last August. As the elected representative for the area, this is standard practice that has taken place for many years. However, on submitting my request I was told I could only submit a written statement that would be read to the committee.”
She continued: “Whilst I am able to put my points forward, as the elected representative for the area, I am saddened I cannot address the Virtual Committee in person. The application in question is for retrospective planning permission and I feel it is important to remind Whitemoss that they adhere to the provisions set out in the Development Consent Order covering the site.”
Cllr Gibson continued: “This change has come about as a result of the downgrading of democratic structures by the current Conservative administration, which has seen debate and democracy stifled at LCC. Not only have they reduced Councillors speaking in Full Council and Cabinet but they are now stopping residents from having their views expressed by their elected representatives.”
Cllr Gibson said: “I will put my written statement in, and I am sure the Committee will consider it in full, but, sadly, this is no substitute for being able to address the meeting, albeit virtually, in person.”