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BEWSEY OLD HALL PUBLIC INQUIRY. TUES 12 MAY.


Sha
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Paul wrote:

Strange as it may seem I don't think they have to. I think the applicant makes a declaration as to the land they are proposing to build on, so from what I can tell they made an innaccurate declaration....and on those grounds the application should be thrown out and the process started again from scratch.

 

Yes Paul, but wouldn't this normally have been noticed by the planning officers and thus thrown out when the application went to committee?

Also, as there were elements of 'affordable' housing in this application wouldn't the planning officers have had to be involved at an early stage to negotiate this aspect?

And wouldn't they have had to study the plans before they could recommend them for approval?

I agree it does seem strange.

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You don't have to "own" the land that is the subject of a planning application: it just means, that you can't build on it. :wink:

 

Yes Obs, you are (of course) correct. :wink:

 

Wouldn't this application be a bit more complex though?

They were planning to build the flats to raise ???s to 'enable' the 'preservation' /conversion of a grade II* listed building.

If they don't own the land, and can't guarantee the 'enabling' development, wouldn't the whole package collapse?

 

And wouldn't there also have to be some consideration as to the effect of a larger than expected development and it's impact in relation to the 'setting' of the Old Hall. etc. etc.

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Totally agree with everything you say on this Baz.

 

The 'powers that be' seem to have a complete lack of vision, will, and, as Peter says, common sense. :roll:

 

Dismayed,

You seem to think a 'compromise' will be made between English Partnerships and the Woodland Trust?

I personally think it unlikely that the Woodland Trust would compromise their exellent reputation.

 

I also think that it might compromise EP as the now Homes and Communities Agency if they were to compromise the communities interests!

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Sha; each planning application should be examined on it's planning merits, including issues such as over-development of a site etc. :? If the applicant, through failiure to gain ownership of the necessary land, fails to bring together their "package"; clearly the proposed development won't proceed. :shock: PS; the best form of "development control" is land ownership. :wink:

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My understanding is that the area in dispute is small, and the boundary will need to be resurveyed. The footprint of the new buildings is unlikely to be affected, and as actual ownership is not relevant, this is likely to be a blip rather than a major embarrassment.

 

Unless a viable alternative can be put together quickly, I can't see how the Inspector could not allow the appeal. The guidance is clear: "for the great majority of listed buildings, this must mean economically viable uses if they are to survive, and new, and even continuing, uses will often necessitate some degree of adaptation".

 

Plus, "Where a particular compatible use [e.g. as a community building] is to be preferred but restoration for that use is unlikely to be economically viable, grant assistance from the authority, English Heritage or other sources may need to be considered". It's been considered, and neither local authority, EH or National Trust want to cough up (and it's obviously not much use telling the inspector that's what should happen if there's no prospect of it happening).

 

That means we're back to the bit of guidance that says "The best use will very often be the use for which the building was originally designed, and the continuation or reinstatement of that use should certainly be the first option when the future of a building is considered". Built as a private residence, so restoring it to a private residence isn't that horrendous a prospect in terms of listed building interest (and most listed houses are not open to the public).

 

As there is no prospect of a viable community use (either commercial or grant-aided), the alternative is deterioration and dereliction.

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  • 3 weeks later...
My understanding is that the area in dispute is small, and the boundary will need to be resurveyed. The footprint of the new buildings is unlikely to be affected, and as actual ownership is not relevant, this is likely to be a blip rather than a major embarrassment.

 

Vic, you sound rather like a publicist for WBC!!!!

The errors were significant enough to have the Inquiry adjourned :roll::lol:

 

That an organisation like EP had not prepared an adequate planning application and that WBC's planning officers had failed to notice, and for this to be revealed at a public Inquiry, is definately embarrassing! :oops::lol::lol::lol:

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Why publicist for anyone? I just asked someone who might know because no-one on here seemed to have any idea how big an area was affected.

 

If it was significant I suspect the inquiry would have been abandoned and the appeal lost rather than adjourned. It's still embarrassing for EP (or Homes and Communities Agency as they now are), Urban Splash, and the Council.

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  • 9 months later...

So the leader has lobbied Tom Bloxham of Urban Splash not to do what they've just got planning consent for. I noticed he didn't say that they'd actually got anything different to lobby with - no money, no viable alternative.

 

So nothing has changed then.

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I'm not sure that this changes anything (or would have made any difference if this had been in place for the public inquiry) but the DCLG has replaced the existing guidance PPG 15 and PPG16 with Planning Policy Statement 5: Planning for the Historic Environment

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/pps5

 

 

The most relevant bit:

HE11.1 Local planning authorities should assess whether the benefits of an application for enabling development to secure the future conservation of a heritage asset outweigh the disbenefits of departing from the development plan (having regard to the requirements of section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 200416) or from national policies, taking into account whether:

? it will materially harm the significance of the heritage asset or its setting

? it will avoid detrimental fragmentation of management of the heritage asset

? it will secure the long term future of the heritage asset and, where applicable,

its continued use for a purpose sympathetic to its conservation

? it is necessary to resolve problems arising from the inherent needs of the heritage asset, rather than the circumstances of the present owner, or the purchase price paid

? there is a source of funding that might support the heritage asset without the need for enabling development

? the level of development is the minimum necessary to secure the future conservation of the heritage asset and of a design and type that minimises harm to other public interests.

 

Note that these criteria are listed as a starting point; what is a material consideration will always depend on the circumstances of the individual case and this list is not comprehensive.

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"what is a material consideration" will always depend on...........whatever the council's desired outcome is!!!

 

PPS5 will be of no more use than any other planning regulations, merely structuralist text........open to the interpretation of the individual reader! and thus providing the loopholes that enables local councils to do exactly as they wish!

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"what is a material consideration" will always depend on...........whatever the council's desired outcome is!!!

 

I complete agree with you there Sha.

 

The exact same thing happened when the decision over Stockton Heath Primary School (old news now I know but relevant in a way).

 

Round one.....As per all the guidelines etc MONEY could NOT be used as a material consideration as it was not valid... but EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS and other factors could be used.... decision to demolish and replace was refused.

 

Round two (which shouldn't have been allowed anyway) The goal posts were suddenly altered and on the night the COUNCIL allowed themselves to use the fact that they would lose the MONEY that they had been given (which wasn't entirely true by the way) as the main material consideration .... and guess what the decision to demolish and replace was suddenly approved.

 

So they got their stubborn way and despite all their efforts their brand new school then went into 'special measures'... sad and such a shame :roll::cry:

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So the leader has lobbied Tom Bloxham of Urban Splash not to do what they've just got planning consent for. I noticed he didn't say that they'd actually got anything different to lobby with - no money, no viable alternative.

 

So nothing has changed then.

 

The leader of the council's most recent statement, indicating that he is interested in trying to save Bewsey Old Hall for the people of Warrington is the most hypocritical bull**** I have read yet!

It was obvious at the Public Inquiry that Warrington's Exec had no real interest or intention to save Bewsey Old Hall. If they had, planning permission would not have been granted! :evil:

 

By not acting to prevent planning permission the way is perhaps now open to them to 'negotiate' other options that the public may find as equally unpalatable (or even worse than) the Urban Splash proposals!

Note, that the leader has also been talking to EP (now HACA) and Gulliver's World! now what the hell would Bewsey Old Hall have to do with them?

Perhaps EP and the council leader have identified a more viable/profitable alternative for the Old Hall???

Perhaps they think that the property has undergone some type of 'change of use' (due to the planning permission granted) which now makes the totally unacceptable ...possible????

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Theme Parks and historic buildings do not mix.... look at Alton Towers! That beautiful stately home left to rack and ruin by a theme park which if it spent just one years profits could totally transform the old place in one go.

 

Unfortunately, old houses don't attract visitors like multimillion pound rollercoasters

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Don't the officers advise the Exec Committee and the latter make the final decision.... :?

 

When I say 'final' I am of course only referring to 'final' in terms of ruling in favour of the applicant at the exec board stage.... and if the application is refused at that stage then the applicant then of course has the option of going to appeal for a 'final final' decision.... and where the defending party has no legs or 'will to win' the decision is 'finally finalised' in favour of the applicant by someone else :lol:

 

Interestingly where an application is approved by the exec board then any appeal against that decision is not normally allowed :?

 

So is there any point at all in having an Exec Committee :?

 

Anyone follow that 8):lol::wink:

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The Exec Board has nothing to do with planning decisions. They might have been more committed to funding an alternative use (which would have needed planning consent) but they could only be committed with our money that has other claims on it (Walton Hall, Parr Hall, potholes...)

 

The only awkward thing is that the planners had to go to the appeal to argue against the Urban Splash application with everyone knowing that they'd supported it at committee. But that in itself would not bother the planning inspector.

 

No-one - Exec Board or anyone - has come up with a viable, sustainable alternative use that retains community access. Urban Splash are the only game in town. That's why it got consent.

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Appologies Vic... Of course you are right. I was was reading the words Exec Committee but my brain was thinking Dev Control (Committee)... all as useless as each other though so I am sure you will forgive my stupidity for once :lol::wink:

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Yep... but alas their powers to refuse large developments are almost non existent as most go to appeal on refusal and get passed.

 

In some of the more difficult cases where there is a lot of public opinion against a proposal you can't help wonder if the Dev Control members refuse in the knowledge that the applicant will go to appeal with valid grounds and as such the approval decision is made by the inspectorate.... relieving the committee of any blame :wink:

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The Exec Board has nothing to do with planning decisions. They might have been more committed to funding an alternative use (which would have needed planning consent) but they could only be committed with our money that has other claims on it (Walton Hall, Parr Hall, potholes...)

 

Aw now Vic, come on! :roll: :roll:

The Exec Board would have made their decision on Bewsey Old Hall long before it went in front of the planning committee.

 

They would have had imput to the decision to go with the proposals of Urban Splash rather than a Housing Association to develop the site. ( A development of ALL Social Housing would have at least provided something to benefit Warrington people rather than the chosen Urban splash proposal which only really benefits the developers!)

 

During preparation of the planning application they would have liased with EP, Urban Splash and the council's planning officers. Again, any opposition at this stage would have been voiced and their opinions made clear to the council's planning officers.

 

It is obvious that there was never any intention of offering any support/ funding to any alternative use.

If there was any indication whatever that the Council would support an alternative the planning officers would not have recommended approval as they would have known that if any alternative was seen as even possible, legally planning consent would have had to have been denied.

 

You use the excuse.........

"but they could only be committed with our money that has other claims on it (Walton Hall, Parr Hall, potholes...)"

 

This is incorrect, negotiations with the NWDA for funding for the Sankey Valley/canal restoration project must already have been well underway. The restoration of Bewsey Old Hall could easilly have been included in this project and thus funded.

The reason the Old Hall was not included for funding was probably more to do with Warrington Exec's desire to offload responsibility rather than lack of funding.........as is also probably the case with Walton Hall!

 

The only awkward thing is that the planners had to go to the appeal to argue against the Urban Splash application with everyone knowing that they'd supported it at committee. But that in itself would not bother the planning inspector.

 

Yes it must have been very awkward!

Firstly, when the planning committee refused consent!

I don't think the officers were expecting that at all! I think if they'd thought there was any possibility of refusal and thus appeal they would have dealt with the planning application in a more professional way. As it was it was shambolic (something which did bother the Inspector) and thus was very embarrassing for them!

 

No-one - Exec Board or anyone - has come up with a viable, sustainable alternative use that retains community access. Urban Splash are the only game in town. That's why it got consent.

 

The viable sustainable alternative has always been there. The Exec just don't want it!

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