Councillor brands Eric Pickles ‘a banana’

Eric Pickles
Eric Pickles

COMMUNITIES and local Government secretary Eric Pickles was criticised as a ‘banana’ for changes which saw Worthing Borough Council miss out on tens of thousands of pounds of housing contributions.

The Conservative MP decreed in November section 106 charges could not be sought from small house builders.

The decision meant a re-submiited application for redevelopment of houses in West Avenue would not qualify for a previously-agreed payment of around £90,000.

Green councillor James Doyle said: “It’s absolutely outrageous and to quote Ian Hislop, Eric Pickles is an absolute banana.”

Officers told Worthing planning committee last Wednesday a previous application had been refused in May 2013 as financial contribution requirements had not been met.

They said developers had ‘got lucky’ when their resubmission fell days before the new guidance was put in place, meaning the council would no longer be entitled to claim the funds.

The committee was shocked by the news, hearing the council’s legal and planning teams had looked into the situation and were powerless to do anything about it.

Councillor Michael Donin said: “This is another case of slippery developers getting away with murder and it is happening too much in the past.” The developers did not speak at the meeting.