The Stonehenge Farm Quarry Application

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A bad decision

The Inspector heard the evidence, and asked for more. Since July we have written three further submissions about the effect the abolition of the South East Plan has had on the case we presented at the Public Inquiry. The first gave our view of the matter, and then there were two responses to what the appellants had said.

On Friday 8 October 2010 we heard that the Inspector had decided against us. You can find his decision at the Planning Inspectorate by searching with the reference number 2107573.

The decision is flawed. The Inspector appears to have accepted a great deal of our case, but he allows the national policy for a seven year landbank and Oxfordshire's policy for Strategic Resource Areas to take an absolute priority above all other considerations.

So the Inspector's report ignores or sets aside evidence that was clearly presented, contains contradictions and relies on speculative assumptions
  • that the flood and groundwater modeling can be relied on where the mathematics of error make this unlikely
  • that despite previous experience OCC will be able to enforce a traffic routeing agreement in a complex case where there is a great deal of HGV traffic operating under different permissions
  • that reed beds can be developed when their design and layout goes against the recommendations of the RSPB, so that a more likely outcome is that they will revert to wet woodland - a polite term for boggy scrub
  • that a management regime that has seen dramatic increase in botanical biodiversity would not produce more if continued into the future
OCC withdrew its objections, and the statutory consultees failed to ensure that their recommendations were followed. But they don't have to live with the consequences, they are not the people for whom this fragment of the countryside matters.

The Government talks about 'Localism' and says that people should have more control over the developments that affect them. The Inspector considered this point. He recognized that local opposition was strong. But OCC had withdrawn their objection. and so he sets local opposition aside.

We are immensely grateful for the warmth, generosity and practical support you gave us, and it's hard to see what more any of us could have done.

Whatever we have achieved, we couldn't have done it without you, and it had to be done. But the cruel fact is that at this point there does not seem to be anything more that OUTRAGE can do in this case.