Jaguar memorial wins belated approval

The Christmas holidays and an office move were yesterday blamed for failure to get planning permission to site a Jaguar jet at Norfolk County Hall before installing it.

The Christmas holidays and an office move were yesterday blamed for failure to get planning permission to site a Jaguar jet at Norfolk County Hall before installing it.

Planning officers yesterday lined up to apologise for the blunder which saw the plane, a tribute to the links between Norfolk and the RAF, installed before planning permission was granted.

The move came as the Ministry of Defence gave five days notice that the jets would be scrapped months ahead of schedule. Previously, the MoD had said the Jaguar would fly until the end of October. But yesterday it confirmed the fighters would be taken out of service on April 30.

Paul Crick, the planning department's head of strategy and performance, said an investigation had been carried out after it emerged that a planning application had not been logged when it was received on December 19.

“This coincided with the Christmas leave period and the time of the office move from the seventh floor to the second floor on January 8, which may explain the officer oversight,” he said. “I have taken the appropriate action against the member of staff involved and have reviewed our logging in and management procedures.”

Councillors heard several sites had been considered before electing to place the fighter on an incline at the back of County Hall next to the Archive Centre. But Labour's Barbara Lashley said the roundabout at the front of County Hall would have been a better location.

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There was an angry political exchange as Labour councillor George Nobbs said the ruling administration should shoulder the blame for the failure.