NOTE FOR PLANNING INSPECTOR – 18.11.14 –
DRAFT STRATEGIC PLAN INQUIRY (D.S.P.)
1. : Further to the Strategic Sessions October 2014 of the DSP and enquiry made by the Planning Inspector, Simon Berkeley, it is confirmed that with regard to the allocation of land known as Melton Fields and subject of, in total, a 5 week Inquiry (29.4.14 – 8.9.14) - landowner St Modwen:
That for and on behalf of residents instructing Save Our Ferriby Action Group, and with experience of logistics, it is understood why the ERYC would allocated that land for employment use. However, such are the concerns within residents’ own knowledge and experience of that land and that adjoining that there is good reason why that land should not be developed and should remain open green space buffer.
Some of the evidence concerning this land was given and is contained within the evidence from residents and asserted by the Save our Ferriby Action Group Rule 6 Party to the Melton Fields Inquiry. It is asserted that the evidence from residents and the Rule 6 Party has not been rebutted by either St Modwen, the Appellant, or ERYC, Respondent to date.
Further, by agreement with ERYC, this Inspector has a paginated bundle of some documentation from the Melton Fields Inquiry (pages 1- 56) from the Save Our Ferriby Action Group. It contains both the Statement of Case (Pages 1- 4) and Final Submissions including Further Response (pages 12 – 18) from the Melton Fields Inquiry made for and on behalf of the Save Our Ferriby Action Group and the contents of those documents are relied upon by the Save Our Ferriby Action Group within this Inquiry process.
In addition it is brought to this Inspector’s attention that the Save Our Ferriby Action Group commenced the Melton Fields Inquiry with an application for Stay of those proceedings due to possible perverting the process of justice and abuse of process. Whilst that application did not find favour at that time both of those issues remain ‘live’ to date. The proposed parties to proposed proceedings remain the Planning Inspectorate (PINS), St Modwen PLC and ERYC. This Inspector is not seized of those arguments or documentation as they are otiose to his concerns within this Inquiry and, it is submitted, enough that he is aware of the same within this Inquiry process.
2. Specifically concerning submissions made concerning the land known as Melton Fields to date:
It is conceded that ERYC put their case, as they stated on record, within the Melton Field Inquiry solely as a response to the Appellant’s St Modwen. At no time during that Inquiry did the Appellant ever mention or make reference to the Parish of Melton, Welton and Waudby in which their landholding lies. They did refer to the Parish Plan published 2011 of North Ferriby and that it did not concern itself with the land west of the Village. This is because that land falls within the Parish boundary of Melton, Welton and Waudby and cannot be part of North Ferriby Village Parish Plan. Counsel for St Modwen has further reiterated those submissions within the Strategy Sessions of this DSP Inquiry. It is asserted that those submissions are wrong and that St Modwen, their agents NLP and Counsel have all misdirected themselves with regard to the Parish boundaries and land allocations. Residents and the Save Our Ferriby Action Group did bring evidence within the Melton Fields Inquiry concerning Melton, Welton and Waudby Parish as well as that of North Ferriby and address the issues.
Further there is unallocated mixed use land within the Village of Melton, Welton and Waudby opposite the main secondary school, South Hunsley, which would bring benefits for example of road improvements, land for the school and would, it is submitted, score higher and be preferable to the land owned and put forward by St Modwen. This land has been subject of outline planning application by Manor Properties which includes a criminal impact statement and indicative drawings of site layout etc. The submissions made objecting to that application by NLP for and on behalf of St Modwen were, where relevant, cut and pasted into those made by the Save Our Ferriby Action Group in their objections to the St Modwen second application for Melton Fields (subsequently, and we submit in error, conjoined with the first and forming part of the Inquiry by PINS). Those submissions were successful in the rejection of the second application by St Modwen concerning the Melton Fields site at Planning Committee.
The Save Our Ferriby Action Group does not within these proceedings support or assert any site preferences but brings to the attention of this Inspector the hypocrisy and failure to address the issues of St Modwen and those acting for and on their behalf. Further that there are unallocated sites which may be more advantageous than those put forward by ERYC when considering a community led approach and need rather than mere compliance with housing numbers and provision.
3. Specifically regarding the Allocations Part of this Inquiry and the removal of the cap/cap within a cap provision:
On 16th October 2014 following this Inspector’s concerns and comments about the cap approach taken by ERYC with regard to some settlements the ERYC sought, via main modification, to materially change the allocations. This Inspector asked why the cap approach did not, for example, apply to towns and further that he was not wholly convinced by the justification given for it (by ERYC).
The consequence of the 16th October 2014 Inquiry discussions means that we assert the Allocations fail for want of certainty.
The ERYC relied upon their approach and the allocation for North Ferriby Village throughout the 5 week Melton Fields Inquiry. They have had the benefit of Paul Tucker QC throughout both Inquiries save for when his Junior, Martin Carter, sat in for the Draft Strategic Plan Sessions of which 16th October 2014 was a part. Both residents and the Rule 6 party, ourselves, had therefore been led to rely upon the allocation and its justification within that Inquiry. The approach asserted by ERYC then was not criticised or commented upon by Mrs Ellison, Planning Inspector, or Counsel or agent, NLP, for the Appellant, St Modwen (although within this DSP Inquiry they now seek to do so). Therefore, the case made for and on behalf of ERYC was misrepresented to us and we have been led to rely upon it to our detriment.
Further, the approach now taken discriminates against all settlements affected as the ERYC now seeks to separate off some settlements from others and give them no parity within either the totality of the consultation or planning process.
This Inspector’s concerns on 16th October 2014 appeared to us to be around the lack of consistency within the Allocations document as some settlements were capped and some not. This appears to us to be a matter of redrafting not, as ERYC now maintain, a change in the overall figures.
It is not acceptable for any party or participant to proceedings to not know what they are facing when they attend a Public Inquiry as we are doing today.
It is not acceptable that we are being excluded and stymied from participating within these proceedings as, unlike other settlements, we have no certainty as to our allocation or sites or consideration of other sites within the area which may or may not affect us. Other representatives and residents for other settlements have been able to attend knowing what they are facing, we are not in that position. That is wrong.
It is asserted that there is a misuse of public funds in continuing with an Allocations document so flawed and discriminatory in nature and that it should have been withdrawn after the Strategy Sessions finished on 17th October 2014 and before the commencement of the Allocations Sessions 4th November 2014. There was, in effect, a fortnight during which the ERYC could have considered its position and the fairness of process to all.
Further we invite their Counsel, Paul Tucker QC, to consider his position as it appears to us that he cannot represent his clients, ERYC, on one basis throughout the Melton Fields Inquiry and then assert, on the same evidence, something else.
This document, we submit, is fundamentally flawed and the approach taken by ERYC gives us no trust or faith in their planning department. How can anyone have faith in their decision making processes or planning judgments in the circumstances we, and others, are now facing?
Paul Tucker QC submitted at the outset of this part of the Inquiry that the settlements were put through a ‘sausage machine’ of figures and facts and then planning judgment was applied. We can have no faith in this process and moreover due to evidence which has come to our attention during this Inquiry, those who exercise planning judgment on our behalf , may not have the qualifications to do so in any event. This leads us to believe that there is not the professional accountability within ERYC which there should be, and this may explain some of the difficulties we, and others, have had and are having with trying to engage in the legacy and future we leave for others. What is built in the next 15 years is, it has been asserted within this Inquiry, is supposed to last 100 years. This document is nowhere near good enough.
4. Obviously, both PINS, ERYC and St Modwen due to the previous Melton Fields Inquiry are fully aware that there are proposed proceedings from us and we confirm here that we are considering those in the round to include this Inquiry and the issues resulting from it as well. It should be noted that Counsel for St Modwen within that Inquiry asserted that they were using it as a ‘dry run’ for this one, so it of surprise that they should now challenge the allocations and the cap as they have done and even more surprising that, even though this Inspector has indicated a different view and on a different basis to them, that ERYC should capitulate not only on the issue itself but also in the way they have sought to remedy the situation. It is clear and unequivocal discrimination against residents and a demonstration of their failure to engage fully with the consultation process and ourselves which would have prevented this from happening.
5. We commend our submissions to the Inquiry and reserve our position not wishing to prejudice or stymie future proceedings, including at any modifications stage. Further for transparency these submissions are by no means complete and there is new evidence upon which we will seek to rely (June 2014 onwards) but which is not relevant or necessary here for this Inspector working within the constraints he has concerning the soundness of the Plan.
6. Further we ask that it is noted that we assert a community led, Neighbourhood Plan approach is vital given the lack of clarity and inconsistency from our public body, ERYC. We believe the wording within the documentation is not strong enough in this regard and that, as a matter of principle, the ERYC has this approach at the forefront of its decision-making process as planning applications are made and considered whilst all these issues are dealt with. It is also asserted that it is not enough for ERYC to rely solely upon statutory bodies such as Parish Councils in that regard when they are fully aware of an established residents group such as ourselves.
7. We commend our submissions to you.
18th November 2014
Emma L. Reid-Chalmers
Counsel/ Chairman for and on behalf of the
Save Our Ferriby Action Group
11 The Triangle
East Yorkshire. HU14 3AT.