Wychwood Community Group

Working as a community to stop the development of 900 homes and re-open the Gorstyhill golf course


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Post Public Inquiry Statement

The Public Inquiry into the Haddon proposed development for up to 900 houses and application to vary the Section 106 that all Wychwood residents bought into, has now finished its initial phase and we are now in the hands of the Inspector, and ultimately the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, The Rt Hon. Sajid Javid MP.

The Inquiry was presided over by Ms Claire Sherratt DIP URP MRTPI, with representatives from Cheshire East led by Mr Christopher Katkowski QC and the Wychwood Community Group was represented by Mr Andy Bailey and myself. The appellants, Haddon were led by Mr Hugh Richards, Counsel.

The Inquiry was held under Court style rules and evidence was presented by all parties and then that evidence was cross examined by the opposing parties. I believe Andy and I held our own well against the Haddon team and worked well with Cheshire East to present a united front opposing the development. There were also a number of witnesses and independent speakers, including our Ward Councillor Mrs Janet Clowes and Vice Chairman of the Weston and Basford Parish Council Mr John Cornell. Whilst Mr Edward Timpson was unable to attend, a mix of paternity leave, and a three line whip surrounding the Brexit vote, he did provide a very supportive statement (Edward Timpson Statement).

The Inquiry focussed predominantly on local plan policy and political positioning, which was the primary discussion as expected, and conversation on the S106 was of less prominence although Andy Bailey continually pressed the point about our Section 106 rights, and how we believe we have absolute protection against any increase in the housing numbers. The Haddon “evidence” against this was very light and avoided best they could.

The sessions finished on Friday with a lengthy debate on the revised S106, as presented by Haddon, which we strongly object to but does have to be “agreed” in principle by all parties, although it was drawn up by Haddon and Cheshire East, our insistence on being part of it has delayed the closure of the Inquiry for approximately 6 weeks, to allow our views to be incorporated. Whilst this is right and appropriate it is no way a complicit to us agreeing any form of variation to the S106.

The day concluded with Closing Statements from all parties, and both Andy (S106) and I (Trevor Sandry Statement) were able to again compliment Cheshire East and counter all of Haddon’s argument. They obviously took a different view, but I am confident we won the argument.

The next steps are for the Community Group to submit a legal submission around our case to protect our existing S106 and to input into the, hopefully never to be used, varied S106B. There has been a meeting over the weekend to get this going, and we are getting further independent legal advice. From here the Inspector will take around 6 weeks to submit her recommendations to the Secretary of State, for his final decision. We expect that there may well not be a final judgement until late Spring / early Summer.

I am very confident in the case presented by ourselves and Cheshire East, however this is now out of our hands. Fingers crossed until the Summer!!

This decision can only then be appealed if there has been an error in law by the Secretary of State.

Andy and I, with support from the rest of the Committee have worked tirelessly over the past few weeks and months, and this week has been tough with many late nights and early mornings, but very satisfying and eye opening. I only hope that the final decision warrants the efforts we have all put in. I am confident it will.

Finally can I just say a big thank you to the other speakers in support of our case, numerous residents that attended the Inquiry over the 4 days, and to those that thanked Andy and I personally, through Facebook and via emails, it very does make it all worthwhile.

As soon as I hear any further news I will let you all know.

All documents, from all parties will be made available in due course on the Inquiry site.

https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?caseid=3150968

Trevor Sandry – Chairman


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Wychwood Community Group – Public Inquiry

We are now closing in on a major milestone in our fight against Haddon and their plans to build all over the old Gorstyhill Golf Course with 900 dwellings and numerous other areas of retail and amenity, the last I have seen suggested is a car dealership!!!

NOW IS THE TIME TO STAND UP AS A COMMUNITY AND SHOW HOW STRONG AND UNITED WE ARE.

The Inquiry is scheduled to commence on Tuesday 31st January 2017, starting at 10:00 at the Crewe Alexandra Football Club. We are not now expecting this to go beyond the planned 4 days – PLEASE TRY TO ATTEND AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

This Inquiry will allow us to drive another nail into Haddon’s plan for re-developing the Gorstyhill Golf Course, especially on the back of the Local Plan statements and communication from Central Government detailed in my previous statements.

We believe that our case is a very strong one, on both the Development and the Section 106, and we will be using every available tool in our armoury to win this battle.

In terms of the Inquiry, the Appeal Inspector will explain how they intend to organise the Inquiry and the system by which members of the public will be organised to speak. This is usually completed early on Day 1. Depending on these arrangements, it may well mean attending on numerous days.

Whilst we absolutely want your views to be heard we have been asked by the Inspector to try and limit speakers and to channel all comments through the Community Group. Andy Bailey and I will be in situ throughout the Inquiry and will be fully engaged throughout the proceedings.

In summary, I would ask that you forward any comments and statements through this mail address. If you still require to speak in person at the Inquiry please let me know so that I can guide you through the process.

The Committee and I certainly hope to see many of you at the Inquiry which is a public meeting. Your support and ‘physical presence’ during the Inquiry is itself a powerful statement of the weight of public feeling and will be much appreciated.

The case files can be seen here, https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?caseid=3150968

Thank you for your continued support.

Trevor Sandry – Chairman


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New Year Chairman’s Statement – January 2017

Firstly a Happy New Year to you all. I hope you all had a refreshing Christmas and New Year and are, like me, looking forward to the Public Inquiry at the end of January. The Inquiry is scheduled to start on 31st January 2017, in the Carlsberg Lounge at the Crewe Alexandra Football Club. We are not now expecting this to go beyond the planned 4 days.

This Inquiry will allow us to drive another nail into Haddon’s plan for re-developing the Gorsty Hill Golf Course, especially on the back of the Local Plan statements and communication from Central Government detailed in my last statement.

The Weston and Basford Parish Council Neighbourhood Plan is also progressing well and I would request that all those of you that live in the Parish should review this and add comments to support it. This document has significant weight in the Inquiry so please ensure it has your support.

http://www.weston-basford.co.uk/parish-council/neighbourhood-plan/neighbourhood-plan-regulation-14-consultation

Over the past few weeks and since the last statement on the Local Plan we have been working hard on preparing our case for the Inquiry, with some help from a well respected and knowledgeable Legal company. They have been providing some invaluable help and support which they will continue to do so. Your support in helping to fund this work is truly appreciated and just shows the depth of support we have in the local community and beyond.

There have also been discussions ongoing with other stakeholders in the Inquiry and the continued help and support of our Ward Councillor Janet Clowes and Parish Councillor John Cornell are again appreciated and there will be further meetings in January as we look to build our joint case.

In terms of the Inquiry, the Appeal Inspector will explain how they intend to organise the Inquiry and the system by which members of the public will be organised to speak. This is usually completed early on Day 1. Depending on these arrangements, it may well mean attending on numerous days. Whilst we absolutely want your views to be heard we have been asked by the Inspector to try and limit speakers and to channel all comments through the Community Group. Andy Bailey and I will be in situ throughout the Inquiry and will be fully engaged throughout the proceedings. I would ask that any comments and questions are sent through to myself well before the Inquiry so that we can ensure that we are not repeating information, whilst at the same time ensuring that every point is made and substantiated thoroughly.

In summary, I would ask that you forward any comments and statements through this email address. If you still require to speak in person at the Inquiry please let me know so that I can guide you through the process.

Andy and I certainly hope to see many of you at the Inquiry which is a public meeting. Your support and ‘physical presence’ during the Inquiry is itself a powerful statement of the weight of public feeling and will be much appreciated.

The case files can be seen here, https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?caseid=3150968

I will send another update towards the end of the month, as we head towards the 31st.

Thanks for your continued support.

Trevor Sandry – Chairman


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Winter Chairman’s Statement – December 2016

As 2016 draws to a close we are hopefully getting closer to the end of the nightmare that is the Haddon Planning application for 900 houses.

This year has seen the situation develop in our favour as Cheshire East Council has refused the permission for the houses and also to vary the Section 106 agreement that protects all of the Wychwood residents against further development.

As expected Haddon has taken this to appeal and that appeal will be held at a Public Enquiry which is currently scheduled to start on 31st January 2017, at the Carlsberg Lounge at the Crewe Alexandra Football Club. It is currently set for 4 days, but may well be extended to 7.

Your support at this event would be much appreciated and as soon as I know whether and how individuals may be able to voice their own views at the enquiry I will let you know.

https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?caseid=3150968

Andy Bailey has managed to secure a seat at the table for him and I to discuss matters directly with the Haddon and Cheshire East Legal teams and many thanks again go out to Andy, for all of his hard work in preparing numerous documents and for keeping the pressure on Cheshire East Council to ensure that the residents best interests are the primary concern at this stage.

Andy and I are still investigating Legal representation and whilst our funds are reasonable we cannot afford at this stage to pay for Legal help for all 7 days of the enquiry, despite a number of you making donations during the summer. I anticipate we will need at least another £5,000 to cover expected costs. There are further pledges coming in all the time, and a generous resident recently said they would be happy to pay £1,000 to the fund. A few more of those would be much appreciated.

A meeting has been arranged with both Cheshire East and the Weston and Basford Parish Council, to review strategy and to ensure that we are presenting a unified and complimentary picture with which to defeat Haddon.

I will update you all with more details in the New Year.

Wychwood Village itself is looking very festive already and the Community spirit shown recently in installing lights at the entrance of the development shows how we will stick together to fight Haddon and protect our wonderful Community.

You may be interested in joining our specific ‘Against Wychwood Development and Planning Issues’ Facebook group:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/487057101499894/

There is also the ‘Wychwood Community and Residents’ Facebook group, which focuses on the day to day aspects of Wychwood life. Please feel free to join both Groups:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/429283623825535/

Finally, please let me wish you and your family and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and thank you again for all of your continued support.

Trevor Sandry, Chairman


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Chairman’s Statement – Strategic Planning Board – 24th August 2016

Having attended the Cheshire East Strategic Planning Board this afternoon I am delighted to announce that the planning application for 900 houses was UNANIMOUSLY REFUSED. This is a significant battle to have won, although we are still a long way from the finish. Haddon have already moved the application on to appeal, but a unanimous refusal is a strong statement, and it was reiterated by the Councillors that there must be robust reasoning behind this and that the officers have to ensure all key aspects are covered.

I would like to thank all of the Committee although especially the Vice Chairman Andy Bailey who spoke against the application today, and also John Cornell from the Parish Council whose passionate speeches helped to win the day. Many thanks also to Councillor Steve Edgar who spoke on behalf of Janet Clowes.

I must also thank those residents who came along to support the piece that North West Tonight are running, which should be hitting our screens at 18:30 tonight on BBC1, and hopefully includes interviews with myself and other residents.

The next key decision point for us is related to the S106 Variation that Haddon have applied for and I am optimistic that Cheshire East will be refusing this shortly too.

There is still a lot of work to do in fighting the application, and the next major event is the resumption of the Local Plan Examination in Public and Andy and I will be attending key sessions of that too.

In terms of the appeal enquiry into the specific application for 900 houses, we do not know a date for this as yet, but suspect it may well be in early 2017, and there is lots of evidence gathering to be done before then, although it is still strongly advised that we procure Legal representation for that event, which requires further fund raising.

It is time to reflect in this victory and to move ahead to what will no doubt be bigger battles to come, but we are on a roll.

Many thanks again for all your continued support.

Trevor Sandry – Chairman


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Chairman’s Statement – 18th August 2016

As some of you will have seen, the Haddon Planning Application for 900 houses is finally to be reviewed by Cheshire East’s Strategic Planning Board on Wednesday 24th August.

http://moderngov.cheshireeast.gov.uk/ecminutes/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=279&MId=6147

http://moderngov.cheshireeast.gov.uk/ecminutes/documents/s49498/14%205671N.pdf (it is certainly worth taking the time to read this document to bring yourself up to speed with this condensed summary)

The planning department has proposed refusal of the application and I am very hopeful that the Strategic Planning Team will support this refusal. The application has already been pushed to appeal by Haddon but refusal by CE, with strong and robust reasoning strengthens our case.

The meeting is open to all to attend and anyone wishing to speak in support of the rejection has to register to do so. Andy Bailey and I, as well as the Parish Council will be speaking, and we will cover all points that either CE have not mentioned or have not mentioned forcibly enough.

Time is limited at these sessions and it is likely that CE could reject any further requests for speakers, so I would ask that if you do have pertinent points please let me know via reply email and Andy and I can ensure they are voiced.

Being heard, and hopefully rejected, at Strategic Planning is something the Committee and I have been requesting for some time and now is our opportunity to do so.

I am also expecting CE to review the Haddon request for Variation of the S106 this week under Delegated Authority and as soon as I have any further news on that I will let you know.

Getting the application rejected next week would be a significant victory in our fight to defeat Haddon and whilst very much not the end of the War it would significantly help our cause in stopping this speculative and non-sustainable application from a landowner with no vested interest (bar lining his own pockets) in the location or the people that live here.

I will update on progress and the result as soon as I know it.

As always your support makes the many hours of effort that your Committee puts in all worthwhile.

Trevor Sandry – Chairman


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Summer 2016 Chairman’s Statement

Dear Members,

Since I last wrote to you last, an awful lot has happened with the development and planning and as usual YOU the community have responded in force to show Haddon that we will not roll over and allow him to build on our site.

Haddon applied to vary our current legal protection in a section 106 that covers both the Wychwood sites and well over 900 objections to this have been lodged, and I believe there are more stuck in the Cheshire East system. This is a fantastic response and shows the depth of feeling from the Community and our friends and families. The Committee has been working closely with our Councillors and we are quietly confident that Cheshire East will refuse this application, which without it Haddon would NOT be able to be able to build ANY new housing.

We are unsure of the next steps from the Council, although I hope to have news shortly about this application, and subsequent actions.

The second major news has been that Haddon have requested that the application for the 900 dwellings is sent direct to Inspector and to bypass the Council. This has been agreed and the planning inspector has contacted all residents and we have until 16th August to make any further objections. The details on how to do this are below. ALL previous objections will be passed to the Inspector so unless you have not previously objected there is no need to object further at this stage. The Committee is collating all of our previous objections and will be presenting these to the Inspector.

http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/planning/appeals/guidance/guidancecontent

The appeal reference is APP/R0660/W/16/3150968. Comments have to be sent by letter in triplicate to the Planning Inspectorate, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6PN

We are still hopeful that Cheshire East will take the application to Strategic Planning and formally refuse it, which will add further weight to the argument at the Inspection. Once again I hope to hear more on this shortly.

You can be assured that your Committee will be represented at these forums alongside our Parish Council and Local Ward Councillor, who are working with us to defeat this greedy, self centred and arrogant land owner, Mr Peter Hunt, a man with no connection to the area and whose only motive is making money, at our expense.

Lastly the Cheshire East Local Plan, of which our site is not a part of, is being reviewed again by the Inspectorate starting in September. The Committee has secured a seat at the table at this event and will again be looking to counter any arguments that Haddon and their Legal Team look to raise to get our site included.

I once again profusely thank you all for your ongoing support and for responding to the various calls from the Committee to object to any proposals from Haddon that aim to spoil the neighbourhood we live in.

As soon as I hear any further news on planning meetings, decisions or actions I will let you know.

I also again raise the question of fundraising, as we are looking to organise another event shortly, although as you can imagine the above has been taking up much of the committee’s time and efforts. In the meantime though if you would like to donate to the fighting fund, please contact me and I will forward on the bank details, and a massive thank you to those of you that have already donated.

Finally for those of you on Facebook can I point you to a new site we have that is looking purely at the development and planning issues.

Against Wychwood Development and Planning Issues
https://www.facebook.com/groups/487057101499894/

The existing Facebook site will continue and will focus on the day to day aspects of Wychwood life, please feel free to join both Groups.