Planning chaos as a ‘young talent’ unwittingly rejects or approves real applications

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The Bungling Council staff accidentally approved or rejected five building applications, adding bizarre sarcastic comments at the end of each one.

One applicant, a charity boss, was told that their plan was rejected because “your proposal is insane”.

But while they were errors, attorneys have told Swale Council chiefs in Kent that the decisions will be legally binding and they will have to spend thousands to get a judicial review to overturn any decision in court.

The amazing mistake of the Mid Kent planning support team handling online planning matters for Swale Council came while a “junior” employee was trying to solve software problems.

In the process, five “dummy” decisions were inadvertently published, which were used to test the functionality of the website.

Among them was the sarcastic refusal of the animal welfare center Happy Pants to stay on its premises near Sittingbourne.

Pictured: Happy Pants Ranch founder Amey James has sarcastically denied her request to stay on her property near Sittingbourne, Kent – one of five building applications accidentally denied or approved by clumsy councilors

Pictured: A satellite image showing the property in Kent that is home to the Happy Pants Ranch, where the shelter has requested to stay but has been declined

Pictured: A satellite image showing the property in Kent that is home to the Happy Pants Ranch, where the shelter has requested to stay but has been declined

In the picture: The planning decision notification to the Happy Pants Ranch for the following reasons:

In the picture: The planning decision notification to the Happy Pants Ranch with the following reasons: “Your proposal is crazy” and “No buddy, right shot”.

The charity was told “your suggestion is insane” and “no buddy, real crap”. The redress for the wrong planning decisions will now cost at least £ 8,000.

The request to change the use of a butcher in Sittingbourne was also denied, along with the official response: “No, just not”, while the partial demolition of The Wheatsheaf pub in Sittingbourne with the comment “incy, windy, spider”.

Another motion to demolish a pub in Sheerness to make way for apartments was approved, with the bizarre remark: “Why am I doing this, am I the chosen one?”

In the meantime, an application for the conversion of a barn to store seeds and crop protection products, Precision Farm Services and office space on Bredgar Road, Tunstall, has been granted, apparently with 20 editions, just numbers 1-20.

The Swale Council is now trying to overturn the erroneous planning decisions.

On August 19, Mid Kent Planning Support Team officials attempted to resolve issues with the software behind the public site, but during the exercise “dummy” decision notices on five randomly selected Swale applications were posted on the live system .

The partial demolition of The Wheatsheaf pub in Sittingbourne was made with the comment under the reasons given

The partial demolition of The Wheatsheaf pub in Sittingbourne was approved with the comment under the stated reasons “incy, wincy, spider”.

Pictured: The planning decision notice sent to the Wheatsheaf Pub by the Swale Council

Pictured: The planning decision notice sent to the Wheatsheaf Pub by the Swale Council

After being notified of the error, the decision notices were quickly removed from the page, but legal counsel retrospectively confirmed them as legally binding and must be reversed before the correct decisions are made.

Amey James, founder of The Happy Pants Ranch, told KentOnline, “Of course the comments are pretty ridiculous, but if I had continued this morning before I saw the email from the Swale Council about the bug, I would have a heart attack had. ”- I would have panicked properly; the future of the ranch depends on that decision. ‘

She added, “I always thought this would go to the planning committee in September, but because of that, it will likely be delayed even further.

“At this rate, we probably won’t know until Christmas. It’s just terrible not to know. ‘

Swale Council Chair Cllr Roger Truelove and Vice Chair Cllr Mike Baldock said they were upset and frustrated that an administrative error by employees of the Mid Kent Joint Planning Service resulted in incorrect planning decision notices being issued.

They said, “These errors need to be corrected, but this will cause completely unnecessary concern for applicants.

An application to change the use of a butcher in Sittingbourne was also rejected

An application to change the use of a butcher in Sittingbourne was also rejected

With the reasons for the rejection given, the butcher was told, “Just don't do it.  No 'in the comments

Among the reasons given for refusal, the butcher was told, “Just don’t do it. No ‘in the comments

Another motion to demolish a pub in Sheerness to make way for apartments was approved, with the bizarre remark: “Why am I doing this, am I the chosen one?

Another motion to demolish a pub in Sheerness to make way for apartments was approved, with the bizarre remark: “Why am I doing this, am I the chosen one?

Pictured: The plan to approve the demolition of the Old House At Home in Sheerness

Pictured: The plan to approve the demolition of the Old House At Home in Sheerness

‘This is not the first serious issue after moving our planning administration to Mid Kent Shared Services.

“We will await the outcome of a Roper investigation and then consider our appropriate response as advice.”

Swale Council said the language was used by a junior officer with no knowledge of the applications who believed he was working entirely in a test environment, with comments never being made public.

She added that an investigation was ongoing to understand exactly what happened “to ensure lessons are learned and all necessary action is taken regarding the behavior of the officers involved”.

The agency said the fastest legal way to resolve the issue is through judicial review to overturn the decisions

It added: “This is not uncommon and, if not challenged, could be completed in two to three months. We have informed all claimants of the error and will contact them as the matter progresses. ‘

An application for the conversion of a barn to store seeds and crop protection products, Precision Farm Services and office space in Tunstall was granted

An application for the conversion of a barn to store seeds and crop protection products, Precision Farm Services and office space in Tunstall was granted

Permission was granted, apparently with 20 terms that were just the numbers 1-20

Permission was granted, apparently with 20 terms that were just the numbers 1-20

The review is expected to cost around £ 8,000 if not challenged and the Swale Council expects Mid Kent to pay for it.

Julien Speed, chairman of Lynsted with the Kingsdown Parish Council, told KentOnline: “This is a pretty extraordinary mistake. Yes, the public planning site needs a lot of improvement, but where is the quality control when testing software?

‘The Swale Council now says it will seek a judicial review by the courts to overturn these five rogue decisions. What a massive waste of taxpayers ‘money.’

Cllr Cameron Beart, who represents Queenborough and Halfway on the Swale Council, added: “I am absolutely appalled that one of them is the demolition of the Old House at Home on Sheerness High Street.

“I am not commenting on the application in general, but if it is approved unconditionally and unconditionally, it is a serious problem.”


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