Appeal Update as deadline looms

Dear Supporters,

Happy New Year!

I’ll not linger on good wishes, but get straight to the point which is to update you on appeal matters.

First, please accept our apologies for the long silence. Until mid-December we were unsure of our tactics in supporting the Council’s appeal defense, but we can now share this with confidence.

Crucially, you do not need to do anything unless you fall into the categories outlined in the bullets below. So please keep reading…

Our Approach
In a recent meeting with RPP members, Parish Council representatives and elected Councillors, we all agreed the most appropriate way to support the Council is as follows:

  • For RPP, the Parish Council, neighbouring Parish Councils and elected Councillors, Nathan Hartley and Sarah Bevan to each send individual representations in support of the Council’s defense
  • For these groups to write on your behalf (if you are happy with this). This is because your original letters and the petition WILL BE READ by the Planning Inspector, and Appeal Guidelines state that you should not write again unless you did not write at application stage, or you have something new and relevant to say (please see point 2 below).
  • If you fall into either of these categories, you may submit a comment on the Appeal by 15 January, but do read this email and all of the related documents carefully.

Background 
There are a few issues/developments we’d like to update you on:

1. When we heard of the Appeal, we considered employing a consultant to prepare an independent Landscape survey in support of the Council’s first reason for refusal (see Appeal notice). This is not necessary because the Council has employed a barrister and White Young Green consultants to make the case specifically on Landscape grounds. Our approach is to support the Council as an ‘Interested Party’.

2. Sadly, the Council recently declared that they are withdrawing/not defending reason for refusal no. 2, which is the school issue. We’re not 100% clear why, but as interested parties supporting the Council, we CAN defend this issue ourselves (and will). Councillors Nathan Hartley and Sarah Bevan, and RPP will write about the untenable current situation and how the money offered by Ware/Pegasus will not be enough to solve the issue if yet more children from the development are to attend the school. If you’d like to comment on this (but not write a full representation), we can include your quote in RPP’s representation as evidence. Please send well thought-out and publishable comments to Petra at petraschofield@gmail.com before Friday 10 January. 

3. The Inspector has declared this appeal to be an Inquiry, not a Hearing, which is a more formal affair. The Appeal will not be heard until Tuesday 8 April 2014 at The Fry Club, Keynsham and will take 2 days. RPP, our elected Councillors, the Parish Council and neighbouring Council’s will speak in support of the Council on your behalf (and on issues that the Council are not raising). We’ll send an update in March.

4. Despite a new development at Monger Lane, Midsomer Norton being approved at Appeal recently, we believe we have a strong case. The Inspector responsible for reviewing the emerging Core Strategy recently stated that housing development boundaries for the Somer Valley (which includes PSJ) are sound and will not change. This was in response to developers (including Ware) pushing for these boundaries to change. These comments may or may not be given weight by the Planning Inspectorate overseeing the appeal. We’ll have to wait and see (and keep our fingers crossed).

5. We believe the GP surgery is writing a representation. They also hope to speak at Appeal. We do not have clarity on their approach, but hope they will be supporting the Council in their defense of refusal reason number 3. “..the development would be unsustainable due to unacceptable adverse pressure put onto already overstretched services”.

Guidelines for submitting a representation for the Appeal

Remember, residents’ original comments/letters will be taken into consideration by the Inspector and the default position is NOT TO WRITE.
You should only write a representation if you:
a. Did not write before
b. Have something new and very relevant to say on the grounds of the appeal
c. Have a new, pertinent comment regarding the school issue (which the Council is no longer defending).Remember, however,  that you can submit a comment about the ‘school issue’ to Petra for us to include as evidence in RPP’s own representation. This could save you a lot of time.

You can track appeal matters at the Inspectorates Planning Portal using this link. 

How to submit a representation…

1. Write your representation, stating that you are an Interested Party writing in support of the Council
2. State that you support the Council’s reason for refusal on the original three grounds, but would like to highlight X & Y <points you feel strongly about>. State that you believe these issues should be taken into consideration when weighing up whether the development is sustainable for the village. Remember to expand and illustrate why it’s unsustainable.
3. Submit your representation online here : http://www.pcs.planningportal.gov.uk/pcsportal/ViewCase.asp?caseid=2208178&coid=106624  (see Comment on this case near the foot of the page)
4. To submit your representation by post, send your letter to Peter Kozak, 3/26 Hawk Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol, BS1 6PN. You will need to provide 3 copies, quoting the Inspectorate’s Appeal Reference, APP/F0114/A/13/2208178 - Appeal by Edward Ware Homes Ltd. Site at Land Between Hillside View and Greenlands Road, Peasedown St John.
5. Representations must arrive by 15 January 2014 or they will not be seen and returned to you.

Documents you must read if you are preparing a comment:
The Appeal notice with the Council’s three reasons for refusal
Ware’s Grounds for Appeal (which RPP will respond to point by point)
Guidelines for taking part in Appeals

You can contact Jan Fletcher on 07866 484 996 / jan@mycopyworks.co.uk for advice, or contact Petra Schofield at petraschofield@gmail.com if you would like to submit a comment on the school issue within RPP’s own representation. Petra is particularly interested in hearing from people who have been unable to secure a place for all their children at the school, or have to rely on taxis to take children to nearby schools, after failing to get their children into PSJ’s.

Best wishes,

Petra Schofield

P.S. Please share this information today with your neighbours and community members without internet access.

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