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Thanks!

The RPP Team

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Public Inquiry on 8 April seals fate of Greenlands

Hello,

On the 8 April at Farrington Gurney Golf and Country Club, the fate of Greenlands Field and Peasedown will be sealed at Public Inquiry.

If you lodged an objection, you should have received notification of the Inquiry by post or email. If not, here are the details:

Public Inquiry Appeal Ref: 13/00111/RF and Planning Application ref: 12/05477/OUT
Date: 8 April 2014
Time: 10 am (all day, perhaps two)
Venue: Farrington Golf Club & Country Club, Marsh Lane, Farrington Gurney, Bristol, Somerset BS39 6TS.

Representatives from RPP and the Parish Council, and local councilor Nathan Hartley, will speak in support of the Council’s decision to refuse this application.

Anyone is welcome to attend, but please let us know if you wish to speak. This way we can plan our time effectively. Remember that the Inspector will have read your original objection.

If you’re interested in reading the Appellant’s and the Council’s case arguments, these documents are now available to read on the Council’s website. Search on 12/05477/OUT and go to ‘documents’. See Appellant’s Case and Council’s Case.

Our appeal comment is not posted, but has been received. It simply addresses the Appellant’s grounds for appeal, referencing our original objections as appendices. I’ll load it up to the website soon.

If it’s been so long that you’ve forgotten what we’re fighting for – here it is.

We believe, as do over 900 residents, that building 89 homes on this greenfield site represents a tipping point for the village.

The burden it will place on our roads, school and doctors’ surgery is unsustainable and dangerous.

The damage it will do to the rural, distinct setting of the miners’ cottages at Hillside View is irreversible.

It will destroy the stunning view we all enjoy from the village of the Cam Valley, not to mention our adored Greenland wildlife. All of which lifts our hearts on gloomy days.

The developers will profit handsomely. We’ll suffer for years.

It brings no benefit to local people and is ill-thought-out, opportunist and irresponsible.

The fate of the field rests on whether or not the appellant can prove this is a sustainable development. Well, ‘bon chance’ Pegasus and Ware!  Anyone who knows and loves this village can tell them they don’t stand a chance.

Finally, I’d like to thank Tom Clifford and Matt Price for helping the rest of us keep pace with the technical side of this appeal.

We’ll keep you posted. Please follow us on Twitter and Facebook .

Best wishes,
Jan Fletcher
On behalf of Residents Protecting Peasedown

Contact us:
Jan Fletcher: jan@mycopyworks.co.uk
Petra Schofield: petraschofield@gmail.com

residentsprotectingpeasedown@gmail.com
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. 

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Urgent help required – comments on re-consultation/illustrative masterplan

Hello,

We need your help urgently. Last week we advised that you need do nothing (by default) in terms of submitting comments on the Appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. We have now looked more closely at the latest consultation documents from Pegasus Planning which you will have received in the post last week (if you wrote to object originally). We are now appealing for you to respond to this immediatelyand before Wednesday 15 January 2015. If residents ignore this re-consultation, it may send the wrong message.

It is easy to do and won’t take you long. Just follow these instructions.  

1. Read Pegasus’ letter dated 3 January, with the two Illustrative Master Plans.
2. Note the last paragraph in the letter, where it states ‘The scheme is fundamentally unchanged but for the minor re-alignment of some areas, allowed for by the removal of the allotments and business units…’
3. Take a moment to think about this, to look at the plans and decide whether the changes affect your opinion on whether the scheme should go ahead or not.
4. If you are still opposed to the scheme, please follow the steps below to lodge a simple objection to the Planning Inspectorate (not the Council) by 15 January.

If you are still opposed to the scheme, but not quite sure how to word your objection, we suggest something along the lines of:

“I am writing regarding the amended Illustrative Master Plan, sent to me by Pegasus on 3 January prior to the Appeal.  As Pegasus admit in the letter, this scheme is ‘fundamentally unchanged’, but for the removal of the allotments and business units, which I believe reduce the sustainability of this development even further. My original objection to this plan <please reference your original letter - Name and Date> therefore still stands. The development is not sustainable for our village, regardless of changes to the design”

How to submit a representation ONLINE to the Planning Inspectorate: 

1. Write your representation, stating that you are an Interested Party writing in support of the Council
2. You may wish to state that you support the Council’s reason for refusal on the original three grounds, but would like to respond to the consultation on the Illustrated Master Plan, sent to you on 3 January from Pegasus. You may use the wording above (or something like this) to make your point that your original objection during the original consultation still stands.
3. Submit your representation online herehttp://www.pcs.planningportal.gov.uk/pcsportal/ViewCase.asp?caseid=2208178&coid=106624  (see Comment on this case near the foot of the page. Don’t use the LPA gateway)

BY POST 
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.

Please note that Pegasus did NOT provide you with online portal in their letter, only an address (which isn’t great!).

If you’ve already sent your comments by post, thank you!

Please accept our apologies if you were going to write about this last week, and didn’t because of our last news post.

Remember you are very welcome to write a full appeal comment, but please consider reading our last news post and the documents below, before you do.

Documents you must read if you are preparing a more general/new comment (broader than the comment on the illustrative masterplan):
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 have any questions.

Best wishes,

Petra Schofield

P.S. It will only take you 10 minutes to log onto this portal, complete your details and make the comment on the Illustrative master plan along the lines of what’s provided above! It will ensure the Inspector knows that despite this change to the design and layout in an attempt to improve landscape impact/visual amenity, your original objection STILL STANDS.

P.P.S Remember that the Inspector WILL receive your original objection letter. Unless you are responding to the consultation as outlined above, or you have something new or relevant to say on the grounds of appeal, you do not need to comment on the Appeal.

residentsprotectingpeasedown@gmail.com
www.residentsprotectingpeasedown.org
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. 

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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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Appeal submitted to challenge Council’s decision on Greenland

Dear Supporters,

Yesterday, we received confirmation from Parish Councillors, Nathan Hartley and Sarah Bevan, that Edward Ware Homes has submitted an Appeal to challenge the Council’s decision on Greenlands Field.

The Council now has six weeks to defend their position (taking us, roughly, to Christmas!). We don’t yet have full details of the process.

As you know, it was recommended to RPP that should Ware appeal, we could assist the Council in their fight by providing them with a professional, independent landscape assessment. We are asking the Parish Council to take responsibility for this commission and will let you know the outcome. This is our best chance of the community influencing the outcome of the Appeal, which otherwise is out of our hands.

As you know, the Council’s Core Strategy has yet to be agreed by the Government Inspectors, which means B&NES’s planning laws are currently out of date. This situation makes it easier for developers to push through unsuitable development at appeals, given the Government’s ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’. We need to provide watertight proof that this development is ‘unsustainable’.

As soon as we have more concrete details (on the appeal process, the Parish Council’s position on providing help, and the state of the Core Strategy), we’ll call a meeting. We’ll also keep you updated via email, Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for your continued support and engagement.

Best wishes,

Petra Schofield

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

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Will he, won’t he…appeal?

Dear Supporters,

It’s been a couple of months since our emotional victory at Committee, so you may be wondering where the party is?

Well, we’ve been a little cautious, keeping the champagne on ice and the balloons in the box, until we know whether Ware and Pegasus plan to appeal the Council’s decision.

And so far, so good. However, that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods!

Here’s a summary of what’s been happening.

The big day…

As you know, the Committee overturned the planning officer’s recommendation to approve the development, so we’d like to formally thank Tom Clifford (RPP), Karen Walker (Parish Council), Chris Dance (RPP’s planning consultant), Nathan Hartley and Sarah Bevan (Parish Councillors), for their superb representations on the day. We’d like to thank you, too, for your unwavering support.

Such was the strength (and sense) of the arguments put forward by the community, when the Chair put the motion to refuse permission to the vote, seven councillors voted in favour, three voted against, and three abstained. The refusal was based on these grounds:

  1. It would cause significant adverse impact and serious permanent harm to the rural character and landscape of the site
  2. It would have an unacceptable adverse pressure on the school
  3. It is unsustainable due to the unacceptable adverse pressure it would put onto already overstretched services, particularly health services

The result is testament to what a community can do when it pulls together!

We’ve provided the minutes and decision note for planning geeks.

Unfortunately, Edward Ware has until 21 February 2014 to appeal (six-months from the official notice on 21 August 2013).

What now? 

Given the Core Strategy is yet to be approved, there is every chance Ware will appeal the Committee’s decision. If he does, the case will be Ware vs B&NES Council and largely out of our hands.

However, we can assist the Council in its preparation and, should an appeal be launched, we may seek professional help in the form of an independent landscape assessment, providing more detailed, professional evidence of the harm the development would cause to the rural landscape.

Meanwhile, a government Planning Inspector has been reviewing the Council’s draft Core Strategy, and the good news is… he seems pretty happy! So with the Somer Valley housing quota largely catered for, Ware cannot confidently argue for the need to build on unsuitable greenfield land.

Here’s an extract from the Council’s press release, following the planning inspector’s review:

Councillor Tim Ball (Lib-Dem, Twerton), Cabinet Member for Homes and Planning, said, “It is good news that the Core Strategy will proceed. Let’s be clear. Had the Inspector called a halt to the process, this would have played into the hands of developers and encouraged speculative development proposals around our area in unsustainable locations. Most probably, these locations would have resulted in a free for all Green Field land grab.

“The Core Strategy focuses development on brownfield sites as far as possible and seeks to limit the use of Green Belt land to achieve our homes target to support local need.”

Of course, Ware may still risk appeal.

What you can do

Keep a look out for our emails and posts on Facebook and Twitter. As soon as we have any news on Ware’s appeal status (good or bad), we’ll call a public meeting to agree a way forward.

Meanwhile, the balloons and champagne are staying in the box.

Thanks for your continued support! We really appreciate it.

Best wishes,

Petra Schofield

residentsprotectingpeasedown@gmail.com

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. 

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Details on how to support us at the hearing on Wednesday 31st July

Dear Supporters,

We mentioned in our last post that residents’ support in the gallery of the Development Control Committee meeting this Wednesday, will lend real support to our cause.

As you know, the Planning Case Officer is recommending approval subject to conditions. But it’s up to 12 Development Control Committee members to decide whether or not to accept this recommendation in an open vote and discussion.

This morning, we sent a written representation to each committee member in response to the Case Officer’s recent report.

On Wednesday afternoon, our Ward Councillors Nathan and Sarah, Chris Dance (Planning Consultant) and Tom Clifford (RPP member), will each have a few minutes to sum up the issues and appeal to Committee members to reject this proposal.

Your support counts and shows the strength of feeling that exists in the community. So please attend this meeting if you can. 

Here are the details:

  • The venue is the Guildhall, High Street Bath, BA1 5AW
  • You are attending the Development Control Committee Meeting
  • Come to the main reception and staff will direct you to the venue
  • Please arrive and be seated by 2pm (aim for 1.45pm)
  • Greenlands is second on the agenda, ref 12/05477/OUT
  • Please don’t make any noise during the developer’s representations (we know it’s tempting to boo)
  • You may clap to show your support after our own representations :)

View map

Please chat to your neighbours about coming and share cars. Remember that you can use the Park and Ride to save on parking fees!

If you can’t come, we recommend you follow us on Twitter and Facebook to receive breaking news, but we will also keep you posted by email.

Please help out the community by  relaying our news to neighbours without internet connection. 

If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Best wishes,

Petra Schofield
residentsprotectingpeasedown@gmail.com

Just go to www.residentsprotectingpeasedown.org for all you need to know – and follow us on Twitter and Facebook. 

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Important update – hearing confirmed for Wednesday 31 July

Dear Supporters,

The Planning Officer for B&NES Council has confirmed that the application for Greenlands Field WILL BE heard by the Development Control Committee on Wednesday 31 July.

In addition, we heard today that the officer is recommending approval subject to certain conditions. It is now up to Committee members to vote to either approve or reject her recommendation. You can read her report here, pages 19 to 68!

We remain optimistic that our representations and lobbying with Committee members will make a real difference.

We’re well on top of this, and  holding a meeting with our Ward Councillors and our Planning Consultant, Chris Dance, later this week to discuss a coordinated approach to spoken representations.

A lobbying document will be sent to Committee Members on Friday morning. We will share this with you just prior to the hearing.

Please support us at The Guildhall, Bath at 2pm on Wednesday 31 July

Our planning consultant has suggested we need as many residents as possible to show support in the gallery. 

The meeting starts at 2pm at The Guildhall, Bath, High Street, BA1 5AW. Greenlands is second on the planning agenda. If you can make it, please come!

You could share cars and parking costs with your neighbours (or take the park and ride). You can also ask any of the RPP members going for a lift, but we might be heading there early!

If you can’t come, we recommend you follow us on Twitter and Facebook to receive breaking news, but we will also keep you posted by email.

Please help out the community by  relaying our news to neighbours without internet connection. 

If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

I’m sorry it’s not better news, but we’re still confident!

Best wishes,

Petra Schofield
residentsprotectingpeasedown@gmail.com

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Greenlands fails to make Committee agenda for 3 July

Dear Supporters,

The Planning Officer for B&NES Council has confirmed that the application for Greenlands Field will not be heard by the Development Control Committee on Wednesday 3 July.

The next possible date that this application can be heard is Wednesday 31 July.

An RPP member has discovered a technical problem with the developer’s application and is addressing it with the relevant agency. This is delaying procedures.

We recommend you follow us on Twitter and Facebook to receive breaking news, but we will also keep you posted by email.

You can help by relaying our news to neighbours without internet connection.

If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Best wishes,

Petra Schofield
residentsprotectingpeasedown@gmail.com

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Latest important updates on Greenlands Field, 12 June

Dear Supporters,

First, a big ‘thank you’ to all those who submitted objections last month (a period that saw Pegasus take off and then reinstate the proposed on-site business units).

The consultation period is now closed and RPP assumes there will be no further extensions.

We now wait for confirmation that the application will be discussed at the Council’s Development Control Committee on Wednesday 3 July (when a decision on the application could be reached or postponed pending a site visit).

Today’s email highlights recent consultation responses from the Council’s Education and Ecology departments, and its new SHLAA document (Strategic Housing and Land availability Assessment, 2013).

We also outline RPP’s next step in fighting this application. Scoot down to the end now if you don’t wish to read about Education, Ecology and SHLAA.

Consultation responses from Education and Ecology (May 2013)

Education
This is the first response from Education, and you can read the full report by clicking on the link below.
-          Education consultation response, 31 May 2013

In summary, PSJ’s primary school is already packed to the gills, so the department did a feasibility study, concluding that an investment of  £1.7 to £1.8 million would be required from the developer (and perhaps the Council) to accommodate the estimated influx of pupils. Alternatively, children who don’t secure a place (perhaps your child) could be ferried to schools in Camerton and Shoscombe, but this cost – estimated at £30,400 per year –  would also fall to the developer and Council, with implications on safety and sustainability.

Ecology 
The Council’s Ecology team maintain that the developer’s application is ‘not acceptable in the current form’ due to ‘insufficient ecological assessment and mitigation, and retention of ecological assets’. Lucy Corner, from the Council’s Ecology team, asked the developer to address the issues raised in her and RPP’s report.

Pegasus responded in late May with a covering letter and two studies issued by their consultants, Aspect Ecology, designed to overcome the department’s concerns. Please click on the links to read them.
-          Aspect Ecology: Proposed Ecological Mitigation and Enhancement Measures
-          Aspect Ecology: Ecological Clarification 

RPP contest their response on the basis that Aspect has not visited the site since December 2010 (wow!), and without conducting an on-site survey at the appropriate time of year, they cannot offer contextual evidence to support their findings.

We have sent this letter to planning officer and Lucy Corner (Ecology).

New Strategic Housing and Land Availability Assessment, 2013 (SHLAA)

This document forms part of the B&NES Local Plan (Core Strategy), and assesses available land and its suitability for development in Peasedown. Not surprisingly, PEA 7 & 7A (Greenlands Field and Keels Hill), once deemed ‘unsuitable’, for building are now marked ‘deliverable within the next five years’. We assume this is because of the application to build on it. Surely we all agree it’s still unsuitable? What’s changed since the 2007 report?

You may want to check out the summaries on fields next to you.
-          B&NES Strategic Housing and Land Availability Assessment 2013 

What’s next for RPP?

For your peace of mind, here’s what we’ll be doing over the next few weeks to prepare for the Development Control Committee meeting on Wednesday 3 July.

  • Reviewing all the consultation responses
  • Preparing  a short lobbying document to send to Committee members
  • Encouraging Committee members to conduct a site visit and travel on the surrounding country roads (so they can see for themselves how ludicrous this plan is)
  • Liaising with Ward Councillors, Nathan Hartley and Sarah Bevan on their representation to the Committee
  • Supporting PSJ Parish Council with their representation to the Committee, and encouraging other parish councils to make a representation
  • Engaging our planning consultant (Chris Dance) in preparation for his representation to Committee
  • Preparing our own short representation to the Committee
  • Attending the committee on Wednesday 3 July, 2pm

Can you support us on Wednesday 3 July, from 2pm?

If so, please mark your diaries now. We need a full gallery at the Committee hearing to show the strength of feeling in our community. It’s really important!

Look out for emails and posters with more details (once the date is confirmed).

We’ll be arranging a car share.

If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Onwards!

Petra Schofield
residentsprotectingpeasedown@gmail.com

P.S. We believe this application will be heard at Committee on Wednesday 3 July from 2pm. If you can support us in our representation, please attend. More details to follow.

P.P.S This Just In…
Consultation Response from the Council’s Heritage/Conservation Offices referencing the unique setting of Hillside View and its social history. It’s not stated, but we assume the response to the application is ‘not acceptable in its current form’ (rather than an objection) which is disappointing.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for breaking news on Committee outcome! 

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