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Peel Hall Decision


McBain
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Willywonka have you got any evidence of where they are and how far they roam?

 

One thing I did notice on sunday morning was that every telegraph pole has a notice on it by wait for it the Sherrif of Scotland. Trouble was the ink has all been washed away. I think it was a planning application for overhead cables?

 

It also looked like the land had been lightly ploughed in the last month or so just to get rid of the wildlife I suppose. :x

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No Geoff, had one actually in the house once though. Bit late now this year but I'll have the camera ready next summer.

 

Edit - a neighbour tells me the land is to be farmed next year. The fields are ploughed a couple of times a year and I think you're probably right as to why.

 

[ 06.11.2007, 21:24: Message edited by: willywonka ]

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Willywonka, the farmer (on the pooposite side of the M62) used to farm there on a regular basis. For some reason to do with the previous land owner and access he gave up. This must explain the tracks that I saw. If it is him then that's better news as he was thinking of packing up according to a colleague at work. The farmer dies a good selection of fruit and veg.

 

As for the greenbelt I need to get up to speed with this and lobby for it's retention. I've joined the Warrington Nature Conservation. One of their roles is collecting data on fauna and flora they have just done a recent count on the site of the lake off Mydelton Lane to evaluate North West Waters proposals to re-commence drawing water from the it. So I'll have to see if they want to cross over the riad and suss out Peel Hall.

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Obs, if WBC makes the decision to contest the decision then the first place it will end up will be the Court of Appeal, where the Secretary of State will play no role at all. Assuming that the Court of Appeal upholds the original judgement then the Council should have regard to this decision when pulling together its spatial framework for the LDF, i.e. remove the Green Belt designation from this land. If it doesn't, there is the risk that this part of the LDF could be judged to be "unsound" when it comes up before the LDF Inspector (and you can bet that Satnam will be submitting big representations on this very issue).

 

Any application to develop the land from Satnam at this stage would be premature however, because there is still time for WBC to go to the Court of Appeal. Given the Council's past performance, someone will have to do a "pros and cons" exercise before shelling out the cash to retain a QC to try and make a case.

 

As for the wildlife on the land, I think that farming of the land is quite innocent, but it will have the effect of skewing the wildlife value of the site toward the less protected species.

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Got the wrong end of the stick there Obs, sorry about that :bow:

 

I think that it will be very interesting to read the Council's Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) which - if rumour is to be given any credence - should be out next week. In light of the 'tasters' that we have been given earlier on this year I think that it will reveal that there is a need for more small-sized accommodation (apartments!) despite people's perception that Warrington is awash with such things. Who knows what other little gems it will reveal?

 

It is going to be very interesting to see how the Council responds to the competing demands of Affordable Housing provision (at which it has historically been awful) and market housing provision (about which it has been too lax). I predict more general confusion and navel gazing pending the production of the LDF (if one ever gets produced).

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Originally posted by Geoff Settle:

the farmer (on the pooposite side of the M62) used to farm there on a regular basis.

Had a chat with them they didn't take a tractor on the field it was the developer. Apparently it is done on a yearly basis.

 

Shame really as it churns up all the habitat just as it is establishing. Can't think why they would want to do this? :o

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Been down to the Peel Hall fields today and its well churned up. Given that they do this on say a yearly basis does anyone know why?

 

Is it to prove that they farm it for some reason?

 

One thing that does happen is the footpaths that the dog walkers and friends make across the fields disappear. So it must be really hard work but great resistance training if your athletic. :D

 

It was really good to see the Heron that patrols the are for me. The bird was looking good. :loveyou:

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Actually the GCNewts should already be there. The owner commissioned a survey at around this time of the year back at the start of the century and couldn't find any. My estimed chum Gary has 3 types of newts in his garden and they all hibernate about now so there's no wonder he could find any.

 

Yesterday whilst out walking in Peel Hall Park I met Gordon from Grassmere and we chatted about the old days and the many different forces that were stationed here, Yanks, Canadian and South African to name but 3. He even pointed out the officers houses off Grassmere.

 

He new all about the owner who he believes still lives near stockport, has sisters in Warrington and was a mate of Eddy Shar, remember him?

 

He was very angry about what was taking place in Peel Hall and I'm sure that his contacts will be very useful indeed.

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Great Crested Newts are not a "development stopper". Yes, they are a protected species but all that means is that you need qualified people to translocate them to another site, not that you have to leave them in-situ :wink: The only thing that is likely to put a crimp in the plans will be the Council negotiating effectively for maximum amounts of Planning Gain - and we all know that the Council's track record in this regard is less than exemplary.

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I've managed to obtain a copy of the transcript of the judgement from the Royal Courts of Justice and it is interesting reading! It looks as though the Council got itself in a muddle about the status and application of the "Key Diagram" contained in the Cheshire Structure Plan. Paragraphs 52 and 53 of the judgement are illuminating in this regard:

 

52. In general terms, the Inspector's statement that the Key Diagram is intended for indicative purposes only is accurate, but it is clear that the general extent of the Green Belt was "fixed through the approval of the structure plan" (see paragraph 2.3 of PPG2). Whatever may be said about the level of precision or imprecision to be attributed to Key Diagrams generally, the only reasonable interpretation of this particular Key Diagram, indeed the interpretation apparently shared by the claimant, the defendant's planning officers, and the UDP Inspector himself, is that to the north of Warrington the Green Belt was shown as extending to the M62 as its southern boundary. That particular boundary was "precise and unambiguous". When the Key Diagram wished to show the Green Belt extending across the M62 to the south, it clearly did so (beyond the M62/M6 junction, well to the east of the Peel Hall site).

 

53. In these very particular circumstances, I accept the claimant's submission that extending the Green Belt across the M62 to cover the Peel Hall site did amount to an alteration to the general extent of the Green Belt as approved in the Structure Plan which needed to be justified by exceptional circumstances. For whatever reason, the defendant did not argue that the substantial changes in regional policy guidance contained in RPG13 amounted to exceptional circumstances and the UDP Inspector did not therefore consider that issue. It was not submitted that if I concluded that the Inspector had erred in deciding that there was no need to demonstrate exceptional circumstances (referred to as "very special circumstances" in paragraph 1.350 of his report) it would be appropriate to refuse the claimant relief as a matter of discretion.

As might be expected, the claimant (Satnam Millenium Limited) instructed its QC to go after the Council for an award of costs, and the judge granted that order:

 

68. MR LOCKHART-MUMMERY: My Lord, I ask for an order for the payment of the claimant's costs, to be assessed.

 

69. MR JUSTICE SULLIVAN: Obviously you cannot resist that.

 

70. MR CRAWFORD: My Lord, I cannot resist.

Looks as though the Council is going to get whupped with a hefty bill there. However, there might be a little ray of sunshine, as the Council was granted the right to Appeal against the judgement:

 

95. MR JUSTICE SULLIVAN: Thank you very much.

 

96. I am satisfied that permission ought to be granted in this case. There are, I think, two broad grounds. Firstly, this is the first case that deals with the boundary setting exercise that is carried out in the UDP, as opposed to a local plan following a structure plan, and it is therefore the first case that is concerned with how one interprets a key diagram in the structure plan in terms of the extent to which it depicts the general extent of the Green Belt. Secondly, notwithstanding having just devoted about an hour and a half to giving a lengthy judgment, it does seem to me that this is not a case where the outcome was so obvious that it can be said that there is no real prospect of success from the defendant's point of view. So I do give permission to appeal, even though I have done my very best to confine this case to the particular facts and circumstances herein.

I wonder whether this is going to turn into a bit of a Moby Dick / Captain Ahab scenario wherein Warrington Council just pursues this and spends thousands of our cash just to prove a point, which ultimately will be useless given that the Government has confirmed in several recent cases that it is treating the housebuilding figures in RSS as "not being a ceiling", i.e. these annual house building figures are not a maximum (which is exactly how Warrington Council is approaching them).

 

Stand by for another lengthy series of failed cases from Warrington... :roll:

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Obs, I recall that it took nearly two years to get some form of consensus with regard to housing figures for each borough within the north west - and the fact that it took so long was a major problem in itself. Seems that the Government's much-vaunted "speedier" planning system still can't deliver quick enough.

 

Notwithstanding the new interpretation to be applied to the RSS figures, the Government is now wholeheartedly endorsing the recommendations of the "Calcutt Review of Housingbuilding Delivery" (Nov 2007). The emphasis here is soundly on delivering more houses more quickly. Be interesting to see which Council's are up to the job, particularly as the replacement for the Planning Delivery Grant is now to be linked to the number of new homes granted permission :D

 

As for giving up planning, no... just plan FASTER :bounce:

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