Interference

PUBLISHED: 11:28 17 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:25 06 May 2010

SIR, — I was saddened to read (Herts Advertiser, July 10) that Mr Dean Goodman is currently away from his post as Head of Planning at St Albans District Council. Although your article stops short of making any specific allegations, the implication, whethe

SIR, - I was saddened to read (Herts Advertiser, July 10) that Mr Dean Goodman is currently away from his post as Head of Planning at St Albans District Council. Although your article stops short of making any specific allegations, the implication, whether intentional or not, is that almost by association he must be punished, guilty of some dreadful deed, yet without there being reference to any case to answer never mind evidence to support such a theory.

Having been involved in a number of projects over the years where Mr Goodman has represented the council, I have always found him to be courteous, helpful, but above all, honest and most professional in his dealings. I have no knowledge of the issues that are at stake here and my reasons for writing at this stage are so that I can record the points herein without any bias towards information that may come to light in future.

It is now quite probable that with no leader at the helm, a department that is already stretched to capacity will find itself under enormous pressure to perform, particularly as many members of the planning department are relatively new to St Albans, Mr Goodman being one of only two (to my knowledge) in the front line of planning to have been in post for over five years.

Against this backdrop we have a Government that has placed a quite unacceptable burden upon all local planning authorities in introducing new guidance notes that have left everyone involved scratching their heads wondering what on earth most of it actually means.

Although I would stop some way short of suggesting all our officers are angels, this interference by Government can only hinder a department that is already under severe pressure to deliver in a key area, this being the production of the Local Plan Framework - the template for dictating the future direction of planning policy.

I hope that at the very earliest opportunity the Head of Planning returns to work and is allowed to get on with his job of supervising the determination of applications swiftly and developing plans and policies for the future. Anything other than such would be a most unfortunate conclusion.

ANDY KILVINGTON,

The Ferns, St Albans.


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