Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Thursday 12 September 2013

Artful Dodgers - how to bypass the local planning system.

No, this isn't about the Mem or Sainsburys. Strictly speaking, it's not even about Bristol, because the site is just 'over the border' in BaNES.

It's the three fields that lie between Stockwood and Whitchurch village. Normally used for grazing ponies, and criss-crossed by footpaths, the fields were bought a few years back by Robert Hitchins Ltd, a Cheltenham based developer specialising in commercial business parks.

Hitchins' ambitions for the three fields are a bit different, though. Up to 295 houses, pretty much filling up the remaining Green Belt open space between the two settlements. No shops, no schools, no health centre, no....... anything, really. Just an estate.

Twice they've put in planning applications to Bath and North East Somerset's development control committee. Twice, they've been unequivocally turned down, because their proposals break most of the rules in the planning book.

Now they're trying a new approach. They're appealing to the Planning Inspectorate against the most recent refusal, in the hope that Mr Pickles will override the considered views of local residents and councillors. But at the same time they're introducing a slightly scaled-down alternative version of the original proposal – with 200 houses instead of 295.

We have the opportunity to comment on this 'reduced' scheme – or at least, on the summary diagram that seems to provide the sole documentary foundation for it

But this version will skip the local scrutiny that was enough to see off the original plan. Instead, it will be for the government Planning Inspector to look at the evidence and make a recommendation to the boss – Eric Pickles, Localisation Hero.

Smart, eh?

The Planning Enquiry is expected next month. Deadline for comments is 15th September.

[added 19th Sept]   The public inquiry is scheduled for 22nd October, 10am, at the Bath City F.C. ground, Twerton Park BA2 1DB


Anonymous said...

The Barratt Homes scheme for 47 homes currently being built in the village was also contrary to the wishes of local people but approved by the Government Inspector. The developer has not even satisfied the pre-commencement planning conditions imposed by the inspector. But why would that stop them from ploughing on regardless? After all Developers are now making up the rules as they go, seemingly with impunity.

Anonymous said...

Am expecting to read outraged editorials in the Bristol Post about how Developers keep holding Bristol back by using the appeals process and other legal strategies when the democratic council has rejected their planning application.

When will these selfish minority developers ever learn


Stockwood Pete said...

No, the Post would never incite their readers like that.... would they?

Anyway, the developers don't tick all the required boxes for the Post's vindictiveness - 'anti-progress, anti-capitalist and living in cloud cuckoo land' people who 'are causing serious damage to our city'.

Not quite all the boxes, anyway.