SWT issue Press Release in response to outcome of Planning Inquiry
Planning Committee – Transcript of the WCRA Speech
For those who were unable to attend the meeting, here is a transcript of the speech that was delivered by Kerry. Enjoy!
Moor Lane Access – Planning Application – Reference: PLAN/2009/0434
On behalf of fellow Westfield Common residents here tonight to show that they object to this application we would wish the committee to take the following into consideration
Permission for the outline application in 2006 was conditional on sign-off of a legal agreement between WBC & SCC. This in turn was conditional on WBC demonstrating that transport access was viable. Neither have been done. According to the Planning Officers report, outline permission has not been granted and this application becomes null and void in view of this.
The purpose of this application is to demonstrate that WBC can deliver access routes to the site free from significant financial risk, over which they can exercise more control and there is no guarantee that these are the access routes that will ultimately be developed. This is for the benefit of the developers in that allows WBC to demonstrate that the developers will not take on exposure to financial risk and also allows WBC to move forward with the legal agreement previously mentioned. WBC are attempting to manipulate the planning process to suit the requirements of the PFI / Planning lifecycle and this application is no more that an artifice to achieve this.
The application purports to represent 3 access points to the proposed development site whereas, in actuality, the sole point of access is via a single junction – namely that of Balfour Avenue onto Westfield Road. We would contest that to narrow the application scope and ignore access onto the major road does not fulfil the councils own statement of intent made in a letter to residents dated 29/4/09 of determining “the most realistic and deliverable points of access”.
The application fails to justify how proposed access options can be “the most realistic and deliverable” as it includes no documentation clarifying the proposed development design and hence density. It states its purpose as being to determine access points suitable for a development of 200 homes which is in direct conflict with the density of 470 homes stated in WBCs literature. Until the scale and design of the development is accurately and definitively decided any application for access routes cannot be realistically granted as there is insufficient information available to allow for fully informed decision.
A comprehensive review of the application in conjunction with professional analysis of the Transport Statement highlights significant flaws including indisputable analytical errors and the artificial deflation of traffic density by the use of out of date data. The planning officers report defers the issues raised by our review to consideration under future planning applications however, we would expect any publicly funded body to be legally bound to show a duty of care in the construction of its planning applications and would hope that the useful expedient of pushing problems forward to another application would not be permitted as a method of ignoring errors within this one.
In conclusion it is inappropriate and in our belief fundamentally wrong to propose an access application separate from the full application for the site, as without the details for the proposed development of the site it is impossible to properly debate the appropriateness of any proposed access. We would therefore request the committee to reject the application with the further recommendation that any application for access to the development site be made only as part of a full planning application which should cover all aspects of the proposed development, be made in full consultation with WCRA and utilise a mutually acceptable Transport Consultant.