Council leader takes a ‘very dim view’ of retrospective plans

The new surface at Worden Park's courtyards
The new surface at Worden Park's courtyards

Opposition councillors have said they are ‘mystified’ and ‘dismayed’ that South Ribble Council only submitted a planning application AFTER pulling up the cobbles around Worden Park’s courtyards.

Council leader, Coun Margaret Smith, has also agreed she has a ‘very dim view’ when it comes to retrospective planning applications.

The council argued the cobbles were taken up because of safety issues, and only afterwards did the department which looks after parks put forward a planning application for the changes.

The retrospective plans also include further work to take place at the Leyland park, including finishing the resurfacing of the courtyards, but the Labour party has spoken out against the move.

At a full council meeting this month, opposition leader Coun Matthew Tomlinson said there should have been enough time to submit a planning application ahead of the cobbles being taken away.

He said: “I’m a little mystified that the council has said the work was done urgently on safety grounds, because a press release was sent out about it in November. So I’m guessing there was time to put the planning application in.”

Labour councillor Cameron Crook, who is a member of the planning committee, also asked the leader of the council, Coun Margaret Smith, if she shared a ‘dim view’ of retrospective applications, as a quite a few had been put before the committee in recent months.

“There have been a number of these applications recently,” he said. “And a number of members have expressed dismay and disappointment at this.”

Coun Smith agreed she took a ‘very dim view’ towards retrospective applications.

Coun Peter Mullineaux, the council’s cabinet member with responsibility for neighbourhoods and streetscene, added: “In this case, the action was taken on safety grounds.

“This application covers other work as well, and it’s unfortunate [that it is a retrospective application] - it wouldn’t normally happen like that.”

He added: “It was brought to our attention that the cobbles were dangerous, and we didn’t want anything happening.”