Developer slams council for 'wasting £10k' over 'avoidable' planning row

Property developer Dan Trivedi of Grace Charles

Dan Trivedi, pictured on turning around the fortunes of the Prince of Denmark pub last year by introducing takeaway Strangers coffee and toasted sandwiches. - Credit: Archant

A developer has slammed Norwich City Council for "wasting taxpayer's money" after he claims pleas to find a resolution to a planning dispute fell on deaf ears.

Dan Trivedi, the developer behind a bid for eight flats at the former scout hut on Dell Crescent, won an appeal — and application for full costs — against the council after councillors rejected his plans and went against officers' advice.

This was despite warnings from planners the appeal was almost certainly going to succeed, because it had already been approved on a previous occasion before that permission lapsed.

The only dissenting councillor at the time had been Judith Lubbock, who was unmuted when she labelled colleagues "idiots" on Zoom as they voted to turn down the application last December. 

The site of the former scout hut off Dereham Road in Norwich

The site of the former scout hut off Dereham Road in Norwich - Credit: Google

But Mr Trivedi has revealed he actually offered to then withdraw the appeal and costs application months ago if the planners would work with him to find a solution.

He said: "The council has wasted at least £8-10,000 to cover my costs, plus VAT, because it refused to engage with us and ignored my emails."

A council spokeswoman said: "Although disappointed, we have accepted the decision made by the planning inspector, whose professional judgement has reached a different conclusion to that of the planning applications committee.

"We'll continue to reflect on the decision, as well as the actions taken throughout the application process, in order to see if there are lessons to be learnt."

Dan Trivedi

Developer Dan Trivedi said the council had wasted its own money by refusing to engage with him over a planning dispute - Credit: Dan Trivedi

Mr Trivedi continued: "When councillors rejected my bid, claiming they'd prefer the flats had access off Dereham Road instead of Dell Crescent, we told planners we were submitting a second application in line with what councillors wanted.

"We said: If you can work with us and guarantee this second application will be supported, we will withdraw our appeal and application for costs.

Most Read

"We really wanted to find a resolution that would save both us and the council time and money. But our requests fell on deaf ears."

Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton. Pic: Sonya Duncan.

Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton. Pic: Sonya Duncan. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

In an email from planners to Mr Trivedi, he is told after the appeal was already concluded: "We could not give a guarantee that any new application would be accepted as it would inevitably end up being considered at committee."

But Mr Trivedi said he couldn't understand why nobody at the council was taking "commercial considerations" into account.

He explained: "It's like they were happy to waste money. The whole thing was avoidable."