Saturday, July 01, 2017

One Foot in the Gravel

Last Thursday at the Redbridge Planning meeting in the Town Hall chamber the decision was taken to grant permission for gravel and sand extraction from the field adjacent to the historic and Grade II listed St Peter’s Church in Aldborough Hatch.

The vote was 6 to 5, along party lines, and the cynic might accuse the council of putting money before the health and wellbeing of the local community who live there. However, planning is a quasi-judicial system and decisions are required to adhere to planning law. As councillor Duddridge pointed out during the proceedings he could not find any planning reasons to turn down the application, and if it were an appeal would likely be successful and cost the council a lot of money in costs and fees.

The locals are, as you would expect, rather upset, not least because the Chair did not allow the Church Vicar the opportunity to speak, sticking rigidly to meeting guidelines that only allow two speakers.

Quite where they can go from here, I don’t know, but they are intent on taking this further. There is a petition on the 38 degrees website here, if you would like to support them.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately I couldn't join people at the Planning Committee meeting, if I had I would probably have lost my temper. Yes, Planning Committee does have lots of rules, and yes strictly health reasons cannot be the determining reason for refusal, however what was NOT taken into consideration is that local residents are facing being 'hemmed in' by the OLD works on Aldborough Hall Farm and now on the new proposed works at Aldborough Hatch Farm.
    People should remember that the workings at Aldborough Hall Farm (Area D)were only due to last 6 years - we are in the 14th YEAR!!!
    As to the conduct of the meeting, there IS scope for any Chair of any Committee of the Council to use their discretion - or commonsense; the result may have been the same, however for the sake of 2 minutes to let the Revd Kate speak - would that have delayed so much? As someone who chaired not only the Area Planning North Committee and for 18 months chaired the Regulatory/Planning Committee - I did use my judgement to let more speakers than the 'set' amount and if points were raised by objectors, I allowed the applicant of LARGE proposals to answer those specific points. By doing this I thought it was then seen (hopefully) by ALL sides to be fair and perhaps allowed a deeper insight for Cllrs sitting there judging the arguments and planning issues before them. It was the Labour administration who chose to abolish local democracy in the form of Area Planning Committees - where the ordinary applications were heard, freeing up the main Planning Committee the time to fully appreciate and debate the larger application that effect a greater number of residents.
    Finally, what happens if something happens to this Grade II listed 155 year old building? Forget for a moment it is a church, it is an important, beautiful and one of the first 'recycled' buildings having used the old stones from Westminister Bridge - it won't be Bretts that will pay, but the Council and I will personally make the 6 Cllrs who voted for this travesty stand there under the cracks that appear! Vanessa