Charity's application rejected by council as 'proper whack' in planning blunder

8 September 2021, 10:19

The planning application responses were sent in error
The planning application responses were sent in error by a junior member of staff. Picture: Alamy / LBC
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A council in Kent has mistakenly rejected a planning application on the basis that it was "proper whack".

Swale Council - which covers Sittingbourne, Faversham and the Isle of Sheppey - is now seeking to retract the planning decisions issued in error by a junior staff member, according to a report on KentOnline.

Some applications were accidentally approved, but others were wrongly declined - with some of the reasons making for embarrassing reading for the local authority.

One applicant, a local charity boss, was told their scheme was turned down because "your proposal is whack" and "no mate, proper whack".

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Happy Pants animal sanctuary - which was asking to remain on its site in the village of Bobbing, Sittingbourne - branded the response "laughable" and said the error would likely lead to longer delays for its application.

"The future of the ranch depends on this decision," the charity's founder Amey James told KentOnline.

She added: “At this rate, we are probably not going to know by Christmas. It’s just awful not knowing.”

One butcher also had an application turned down, with the official reply reading "no" and "just don't", while a pub had its proposal granted with the response "incy, wincy, spider".

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The howler occurred when the Mid Kent Planning Support team, which looks after online submissions for the council, was attempting to fix software problems.

Five 'dummy' decisions were then published in error while a junior staff member was testing whether the website was working.

The cost of correcting the error-laden applications is expected to cost up to £8,000.

Swale Council said it quickly removed the notices from its website once alerted to the mistake and an investigation is under way. However, legal advice confirms the decisions are legally binding and must be overturned before the correct outcomes can be acted upon, KentOnline reported.

The local authority added that the junior officer believed they were working in a test environment and did not expect the comments to be published.