REFERRING to the article on the planning issue regarding Andover’s new multi-million pound Leisure Centre project (November 23, ‘Changes to leisure centre), this raises one big question.

Why does TVBC Planning Department have one rule for them and one rule for everybody else?

This is a multi-million pound expenditure of local taxpayer’s money which TVBC appear quite happy to gamble with.

However hard, the bosses of the new leisure centre attempt to play this down in the minds of the public, something went very seriously wrong here and whilst I am writing this, nobody knows if retrospective planning permission will be granted for a leisure centre which, as it stands, is currently unauthorised in planning terms and liable to the issue of an enforcement notice requiring it to be demolished and re-built strictly in accordance with the approved plans.

It would appear that until the Andover Advertiser got hold of this story TVBC were hoping that it would quietly bypass the public’s attention and be rubber-stamped in the corridors of TVBC.

What is most alarming is that nowhere in the detail of the application, or in TVBC’s comments in the article, is there any mention of how this material change in the new building has affected the cost to the local taxpayer? What has happened to any savings? Where is this money going?

This alone should be ringing alarm bells given that TVBC are the landowners, the planning authority, the partner and the client for a new public building much vaulted by TVBC following the debacle of the temporary swimming pool affair.

If anyone has ever had a small home extension which for whatever reason has deviated from their approved drawings, they will have felt the full-force of the planning department after receiving a visit from the planning enforcement officer and told to stop work until the matter can be resolved. Why therefore has Places of People been quite happy to continue to pour thousands and thousands of our local taxpayer’s pounds into this scheme for over a year, knowing that it was not being built in accordance with approved plans?

For a long while, it’s been thought that TVBC planners only go after low-hanging fruit and this example does seem to prove the theory that they operate one rule for them and one rule for everybody else!

Paul Flippance, Suffolk Road, Andover