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Peel Hall Inquiry: 29th - 31st May


Geoffrey Settle
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Well the first day of the Peel Hall Inquiry (at the Orford Jubliee Hub) has come to an end with a bit of sabre rattling.

 

Did anyone manage to sit in and listen to the exchanges?

 

If so how would you allocate points - is it going in favour of the applicant who want to build 150 homes or the local residents who are against such a development?

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Ste Dodd gave a good speech today it went as follows:

 

Ste Dodd’s – Speech to the Inspector of the Peel Hall Inquiry – May 2013


My name is Ste Dodd and I am here today to urge you to say NO to Satnam’s application to build 150 homes at Peel Hall.I would like to comment on two areas of the proposed development.
 

Firstly, the renovation of football pitches do not add to our local facilities.
I live in Grasmere Avenue where local people were NOT consulted about the proposed changes to the existing playing fields. Although Satnam held several marketing promotions, none of these were in our area.Windermere Avenue is in the Parish of Orford; the proposed development is in the Parish of Winwick.
Satnam’s proposals are for the benefit of Winwick Athletic Club which is based several miles away. If this proposal were to happen, local residents at Windermere Avenue would have to compete for the opportunity to use their own facilities, this is not acceptable. These facilities area provided for the people of the Windermere Avenue area. We would not be gaining anything. We would actually be losing.
 

Winwick Athletic FC train at Ballater Drive.Any contribution from the developer through a S106 agreement should not be used outside the area of the proposed development; it should be used for improvements to the playing fields already at Houghton Green.
The developer has said the topography of his own land is unsuitable for football pitches. If this is the case then Peel Hall in its entirety should never be developed as facilities can’t be provided.
Secondly – precious and sustainable wildlife habitat
 

I only found out about the development plans by accident after reporting Himalayan Balsam in the area to the Woodland Trust in Sept 2012. After talking to people using Peel Hall I found that nobody knew the plans had been put forward. I decided people should be informed. I set about addressing the issue by taking photographs of the wildlife and posting them on face book. The response was overwhelming and we amassed over a thousand resident followers all with the same view to save the wildlife of Peel Hall.
 

Since Sept 2012,i have spotted (74) species of bird (15) RSPB red list and (17) amber listed i think the number of birds present are significant and a testament the biodiversity of the area, i might add this does not include gulls.
Peel Hall has been for many centuries a rich wildlife haven for many animals. It has been appreciated as such by many people: bird watchers, ramblers, children on adventures and voyages of discovery, and dog walkers. Its the biodiversity that I and all local residents appreciate more than anything else. Satnam are totally dismissive about any of these features and add insult to injury when their habitat survey states that:
Site 1 contains hedgerows ,trees and scrub that have the potential to support common nesting birds.the abandoned cultivated state of the open field might attract small numbers of nesting birds eg. lapwing
Satnam try to maintain this winter appearance destroying the habitat immediately before the inspector’s visit by ploughing the site and surrounding fields in april through to May, for what reason? This is exactly when some birds will have been nesting in the fields. I am told that they did a similar cynical exercise and burnt what they couldn’t plough some years ago when they tried unsuccessfully to submit a previous planning application for the entire site that they own
 

In contrast I have walked the area almost on a daily basis, some days I have spent many hours waiting and watching to see what emerges. I have logged photographs and observations on my Facebook site illustrating and documenting many species. My findings have been verified by some local eminent wildlife enthusiasts.
The land attracts large numbers of nesting birds including lapwing, grey partridge, pheasant, skylark,meadow pipit,bunting etc. The Santnam survey is in my opinion totally inadequate, it was carried out in February 2012 when most species would be absent or dormant.
The survey also states
It should be noted that whilst every effort to find Japanese knotweed on the site has been made ,other small stands of the species might have been overlooked due to the winter conditions.

Indeed I take this as an admission of an inadequate survey the survey took every effort to find Japanese knotweed,but took no effort to find Himalayan balsam English bluebells, snowdrops 15 red listed,17 amber listed birds,stoats ,foxes,hedgehogs a now much endangered mammal.what else has been overlooked due to the winter conditions.peel hall and the immediate surrounding area has a large number of bats also not suggested by the survey. the only thing i agree with in the survey is that a pond survey for greater crested newts and other pondlife should be carried out.( P16 HAB SURV)
During my studies I have discovered a large number of birds that appear on the Red and Orange list but it is the ones that I can’t verify that worries me. It was only in April that I bumped into two people conducting searches for Greater Crested Newts on behalf of the highways authority.
Phase one is only the start of what Satnam has planned for Peel Hall and he has submitted an outline plan for the whole site to the upcoming Core Strategy investigation. While only phase one can be considered in this appeal its approval would invite a piece meal attitude to the whole of Peel Hall when an overall plan, taking into account the ecology of the area is needed.
 

Let me read you a quote:

‘The islands that make up the United Kingdom are home to a wonderful range of wildlife that is dear to us all.
From the hill-walker marvelling at an eagle soaring overhead, to a child enthralled by a ladybird on their fingertip, we can all wonder at the variety of life around us. However, even the most casual of observers may have noticed that all is not well. They may have noticed the loss of butterflies from a favourite walk, the disappearance of sparrows from their garden, or the absence of the colourful wildflower meadows of their youth. To gain a true picture of the balance of our nature, we require a broad and objective assessment of the best available evidence, and that is what we have in this groundbreaking State of Nature report. This important document provides a stark warning: far more species are declining than increasing in the UK, including many of our most treasured species. Alarmingly, a large number of them are threatened with extinction.
The causes are varied, but most are ultimately due to the way we are using our land and seas and their natural
resources, often with little regard for the wildlife with which we share them. The impact on plants and animals has been profound. Although this report highlights what we have lost, and what we are still losing, it also gives examples of how we – as individuals, organisations, Governments – can work together to stop this loss, and bring back nature where it has been lost. These examples should give us hope and inspiration. We should also take encouragement from the report itself; it is heartening to see so many organisations coming together to provide a single voice, stating loud and clear what is happening to our wildlife. This partnership, backed by a combined membership of millions and enabled by the heroic efforts of thousands of volunteer recorders, provides a powerful force to bring the UK’s nature back to its former glory’.

I wish I could say these words were mine but they belong to Sir David Attenborough and it is the foreword to a new fascinating, alarming yet hopeful statement of how to help stem and hopefully reverse the decline in British wildlife.
The STATE OF NATURE 2013 report, published this month, highlights the importance of conserving areas for wildlife in Towns like Warrington because many people only experience wildlife there, according to the report. "Avoiding the loss of sports fields and gardens is very important if we want to have wildlife in our cities," said Eaton. "It is about connectivity, so bats, hedgehogs and so on can move around. If you isolate areas you will greatly impoverish urban areas." Both of these species are found at Peel Hall. VIRGINIA JONES who runs the local Warrington Hedgehog Rescue Centre has written a testimony about the importance of this site to Hogs. In addition I have audio evidence of bats using the woods alongside the Windermere Avenue playing fields. Any development of these fields that includes flood lights will have a significant impact on their environment and ability to feed.

Radley Common the Woodland Trust’s Radley Plantation and the John Parr Meadows all need protection from any proposed current or future development. Any development within close proximity to these wildlife sites should only be considered after a full and honest Habitat Survey has been carried out, at the appropriate time of year.
Nobody knows the value of affordable housing more than me,As a father of two boys and a week old daughter and currently living in a 2 bed flat housing is a real concern to me, I must stress I am not against new housing I am all for it in the right area. I just know the true value of Peel Hall to our community.

I thank you for your time and I ask for this Appeal to be REFUSED

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Q? Is the land in question Green Belt?  IF not, then it will be eventually built on.  Therefore, throwing in issues about wildlife (including a few greater crested newts) are rather irrelevant, as the principle of development has already been lost. Therefore, the only outstanding question is WHEN, can it be built on; which then involves a debate about the housing needs figures and the time frame for the release of land. Just saying!

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getting desperate if the newts are thrown into the argument...... Fugificare has stated previously that the ones against the plan are resigned to the fact that the land will be built on but their argument is that it doesn't need to be built on just yet.......

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