Further Consultation resulting from the Examination in Public (EiP) of the Wiltshire Core Strategy!
This is really important - it's your last chance to make a difference!
August 30th, 2013
Consultation has now begun (on August 22nd, 2013) on Wiltshire Council's proposed modifications to the Wiltshire Core Strategy. You can find the Consultation documents and advice on how to commenton the Wiltshire Council website HERE.
THE CONSULTATION WILL END ON OCTOBER 9th, 2013
Interestingly, the email sent out notifying us of the new public consultation was marked by the Council as 'confidential'! I can't imagine why Wiltshire Council would wish to keep a public consultation confidential, can you?
The changes are shown in 5 volumes containing hundreds of changes marked either as 'main' or 'minor'. The 'major' ones are the ones that Wiltshire Council consider necessary to make the Core Strategy 'sound' - implying that they accept that the Core Strategy that the Inspector examined in the recent Examiniation in Public was NOT sound!
Comments are only accepted on the 'soundness' of the changes and shouldn't relate to any other matters; if they do they will be ignored. The only ones actually worth commenting on are those marked as 'main' as they go towards 'soundness' of the Core Strategy and will be considered by the Inspector while the minor changes won't be.
First reports - from colleagues at the A36/A350 Corridor Alliance and the White Horse Alliance - highlight the radical surgery the council has proposed as a way to deal with criticisms of its feeble policies for monitoring and reviewing the strategy and its delivery.
One member commented: ‘That first change - CR1 - is quite something, covering almost all policies - “Remove all text for Targets, Monitoring & Review and Delivery Responsibility. These will be incorporated directly into the Wiltshire Monitoring Framework.” There was heaps wrong with the targets and monitoring, especially in relation to transport, also air quality etc. To sweep all that which was there away is probably not a bad idea - but to put what replaces it into some as yet undelivered and un-consulted-upon document surely will make the Core Strategy as it stands unsound?!’
Another member from NAWS and the CPRE commented on the ‘risible’ changes to Section 6, which contains these monitoring targets: ‘Many of these received criticism during the hearings (they were indeed amateurish and appallingly badly put together). The Council's solution is to delete them altogether, in every case. So now all these key policies have no targets or monitoring or delivery responsibility at all! My overall preliminary impression is that the Council has …made a bad document worse … the strategic incoherence which has afflicted the CS throughout is simply made worse.’
At the Showell Strategic Planning Meeting in Chippenham on 31st July council members were threatened with having to meet the costs of an appeal if they did not grant planning permission for a new roundabout which would facilitate an entrance to the site - all the Conservatives voted in favour, plus Terry Chivers who shared his dream of a dual carriageway from the M4 to the South Coast once more! Cllr. Newbury argued for deferral of the decision until after the CS Inspector's Report was to hand, and later proposed refusal. Dick Tonge (former portfolio holder for public transport) spoke well against the scheme being given permission for the access, and the Highways Report stated that the proposal was contrary to Policy CP2 of the CS which relates to the Primary Road Network: the site could be adequately accessed from an existing B-road.
There is also an issue regarding the local bat population. Most of the trees and mature species-rich hedges would be removed from the site, causing a severe loss of habitat for several bat species including Bechstein’s, Greater Horseshoe and Leisler’s. As well as planting new hedges (which would take a decade or more to be any use), the developer proposes that the existing mature species-rich hedgerow network be translocated to the margins of the plots! They conclude that this 'mitigation' will prevent any breach of the EU Habitats Directive [Thanks to WHA for much of the above information].
CSJ planning, representing Chippenham 2020 LLP, has asked the Secretary of State to 'Call In' the Showell Farm Planning Application, presumably because they believe if it is refused then Wiltshire Council would have to reconsider land owned by them to the East of Chippenham to be built on in place of Showell. Either way, development at Showell and any to the east of Chippenham should be opposed strongly. The Core Strategy Inspector let it be known that this was not a matter to concern him.
See the 'NEWS' PAGE for a report on the EiP.