Friday 2nd July brought a conclusion to stage one of Wasdell’s Inlands Farm planning Appeal hearing, led by Paul Griffiths of the Planning Inspectorate.
It was an end to an intensive 3 weeks, with presentations of evidence and cross examination by the 3 parties to the Appeal: Swindon Borough Council led by their QC Paul Stinchcome, John Moe as advocate on behalf of SSPG, and Wasdell Properties Ltd as the appellant led by Neil Cameron QC.
The enquiry was conducted virtually throughout, using video links over the internet. As well as being a principle party to the enquiry, your SSPG team all participated at different times as inquiry observers to the proceedings, making notes and updating each other in the evenings.
Witness statements and evidence were variously provided by each of the 3 parties along the following themes: basis of scheme and benefits to the economy, heritage and landscape, alternative sites, design, and planning (policy, conditions and strategy). SSPG provided the following witnesses;
Mr Parry - 29 years experience running Science Parks, set up of Set2 Incubator centre, a founder member of UK Sci Park organisation, and editor of a training manual for high tech entrepreneurs. His evidence was presented as part of the basis of the scheme challenging the validity of the proposal as a Science park.
Mr Harling - an expert in Manufacturing, packaging & warehousing, including pharmaceutical and food industries. His evidence focussed on the scale of the design and also benchmark comparables to question the "light industrial" claim for the class of use of the proposal.
Our sincere thanks to John Moe our advocate throughout proceedings, who had the opportunity to cross examine a number of witnesses provided by the appellant, including the questioning of the viability, economics and employment claims presented.
Also thanks to Gary Sumner (our Ward Councillor and Cabinet Member for Strategic Infrastructure, Transport & Planning), Dave Hayward (Wanborough Parish Council), Gordon Wilson (Chair of Liddington Parish Council) and a number of residents who all made personal appeals representing local interests.
Unfortunately the hearing is not yet over, as Highways England (regarding obligations and impact on the local/strategic road networks), and the Environmental Agency (impacts of foul water), have yet to present their evidence. This second stage, including the important final summations from all 3 parties, is now scheduled for 7th - 9th September.
Paul Griffiths for the Planning Inspectorate, made an early visit to the Wanborough site at Inlands Farm and environs on 10th June. We are advised that a further visit will also take place - likely to be on or after 10th September as the hearing draws to a close.
You will appreciate that we are not in a position to provide you with a summation at this stage. Please also be aware that a final decision on the outcome of the appeal will not likely be available for another 6 weeks or so after stage 2.
Our sincere thanks to all those in our community who have supported the appeal with letters defending SBC’s decision to refuse the original application. The Inspectorate is armed with all the evidence including residents original objection letters and follow up new information provided for the appeal.
Importantly a huge thank you to everyone who supported the effort to place banners and placards around our village, access points and footpaths to Wanborough and Liddington, and The Ridgeway.
It most certainly left the Inspector with little doubt about the feeling held by locals to this speculative development - as a proposal with little evidence to commend it, either as a viable proposition or for its location in our rural environment.
Our fight continues until the hearing draws to a close in mid September following the second visit - so we urge you to please keep your banners, placards and posters up until then.
If anyone has any comments regarding placards etc, or would like to replace any that have fallen by the wayside, please do get in touch with SSPG at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call us today at 07956306940 or Email us at email@example.com
more detail to follow
Action Group opposed to the development of land in the non coalescent area or joining the AONB in the South Swindon Area
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Ducksbridge, 12 Burycroft, Wanborough, SN4 0AP