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Call for open planning meeting will just bring further delay, Little Chapel Foundation argues

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THE Little Chapel Foundation has argued against the need for an open planning meeting to decide on its application to develop the site.

John Silvester, chairman of The Little Chapel Foundation. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 26884213)

Former Development & Planning Authority president John Gollop said he was in favour of the application being heard at such a meeting, but the foundation insists this would be little more than procrastination.

Foundation chairman John Silvester said as a site that was open 365 days a year, anybody with any issues with the plans could come directly to them.

‘Our planning application is essentially a request to install disabled access, provide waiting areas and create a garden that will showcase the Little Chapel,’ he said.

‘TLC Foundation is only seeking to comply with proposed States’ legislation on an inclusive society.

‘I do not think that it is fair nor reasonable to expect TLC Foundation to justify States policy at an open planning meeting. We have been consulting for two-and-a-half years, it would be procrastination to debate it, when we can provide answers directly.’

He added that he was disappointed that Deputy Gollop ‘did not have the good grace to pick up the telephone’ and voice his concerns.

The plans, which include erecting an interpretation centre, an entrance building and gateway, toilet block, wheelchair access and creating footpaths, have drawn criticism that they went too far, leading some parts to be scaled down.

Deputy Gollop said in response: ‘I want to make clear that I am not personally objecting or criticising the plans. I am just a mirror reminding the DPA of their duty to put in motion the established policy of OPMs when they have aroused controversy and public interest.

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‘That surely is the case here as there has been Press coverage about this issue and a wide range of diverse voices and stakeholders from the clockmakers, coach and taxi operators, tourist guides etc, not to mention Hobbit fans or experts.’

Current DPA president Deputy Dawn Tindall confirmed she had received the OPM request and would be discussing it with her committee.

Deputy Gollop added that after the Catholic Dean, Father Bruce Barnes, spoke out about the number of representations received from people worried about a threat to the religious ethos, he felt it was his duty to present their case at an OPM.

‘My point fundamentally is surely an application of this nature regardless of its nature inevitably becomes a States process,’ he said.

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‘If it does not then surely the DPA and the wider States will have to reassess the planning process and political involvement.

‘However, I regret that I have caused offence by not having the good grace, in their words, of contacting them and that they argue that shouldn’t have to justify their application in public at an OPM.

‘I would welcome reconciliation and maybe a guided tour for States members.’

Danielle Kenneally

By Danielle Kenneally
News reporter

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