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Fenland District Council to relax archaeological planning regulations
There is a local authority ombudsman (if they haven't been cut in the cuts!), you could try approaching them on the matter of material relating to public policy and made in a public forum being based on information held on politicians' computers and whether this constitutes malpractice.
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To play devil's advocate for a moment, I suppose it is just about possible that the FOI person is being accurate, and that there isn't any formal correspondence relating to this. From Councillor Melton's various public statements, it seems plausible to me that he's the type of person who'd open his mouth first, and worry about the consequences later. He may have thought he could use the occasion of his first public pronouncement as leader of the Council to articulate the way he'd like to see them implementing policy, a sort of 'vision statement' by the bold new broom, sweeping away years of accumulated bureaucracy and red tape. It was only after he'd made this that it was pointed out to him that he probably doesn't have the power to make this sort of wholesale change, and certainly not without running it past the rest of the Council. If this interpretation is correct, and that he opened his mouth before engaging his brain, then there may not be any minutes of Council meetings to find (of course, that doesn't mean that he didn't discuss it with other developer-councillors over a couple of pints at the Bunny Hugger's Arms, but it would be difficult to prove).

The acknowledgement in the FOI response that legal advice has been produced in relation to the leader's speech does not necessarily negate the interpretation that Councillor Melton may have been articulating his own personal agenda rather than something that the Council as a whole wanted to enact; after all, the response doesn't say when this legal advice was produced. It may be that they asked a lawyer after he'd opened his mouth, in the period when they / he were receiving letters from archaeologists asking how the statement related to their own and national policies. It seems possible that in the aftermath of his speech, the Councillor or one of his staff may have thought 'whoops, may have put my foot in it here, best check how we stand legally'.
You know Marcus. He once got lost in his own museum
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First off you are right... when was this legal advice? NOT answered
Why do they say (and I quote)

Quote:[FONT=&quot]. Whilst there is a significant interest in understanding the legality or otherwise of any given statement in a planning context, equally there is a countervailing argument that individuals and organisations should be in a position to receive and consider legal advice in private in order that this advice can shape future decisions. [/FONT]

So was this before or after.?

[FONT=&quot]No lobbying has taken place with regard to current regulations regarding archaeological matters.[/FONT]

That was not my question.

AS to the final bit... Cllr Melton clearly states in his speech.

Quote:I now look upon this keynote speech to our principle partners as the defining policy statement and announcement of the year.

and

Quote:This is my first major policy speech since the budget debate in February.

So this is not an individual talking this is the Leader of a Council talking about Council policy.

So boy am I going to push this.
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pps Devilish. you re right... I was told when I phoned last week that they were about to discuss it. so I could also put in another FOI relating to reaction to this original FOI and I know they have talked about this at Council level. Wink so cheers
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From Private Eye 1304:

Quote:"Eric Pickles will be extremely proud of me" - Fenland Council Leader Alan Melton, after vowing to scrap archaeological surveys at construction sites. Cllr Melton wins our PHILISTINE OF THE YEAR award.
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I knew I likedBig Grin Ian Hislop for a reason
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Can we have him as a late entry for BAJR Digger of the year? (if digging the dirt counts) Big Grin
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