This morning the planning inspectorate announced final arrangements for the public inquiry into plans by Tesni Properties for 215 homes between Bromfield Road and the A49 – a development known as Bromfield Meadows (15/02192/REF).
The inquiry is at Shirehall. It is expected to last no more than a day, 27 October 2015. The inquiry will begin at 10:00am and will be overseen by planning inspector Brian Sims.
Members of the public can attend the inquiry and, at the inspector’s discretion, express their views. If you want to speak, it might be helpful to let the case officer know in advance so that the inspector will be prepared – firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have taken Rule 6 status at this inquiry. That means that I will have the same status as the barrister retained by Tesni. My main concern is the proposed footbridge to Fishmore View, which I am opposing on behalf of residents.
I have said recently that I don’t see how the Bromfield Meadows development can now go ahead given the significant progress made on our local plan, SAMDev, and decision to reject a housing scheme at Foldgate Lane. However, Shropshire Council has decided not to defend the decision to reject the Bromfield Meadows scheme, as have the councillors on the South Planning Committee who made the decision. Ordinarily, this would mean the development would sail though the appeal and be approved by the inspector.
However, the planning inspector, Brian Sims, will need to make a decision based on current planning policy. Bromfield Meadows is not included in SAMDev. When the application was rejected by the planning committee, SAMDev only had limited weigh in planning decisions. Now it has substantial weight. I have written to the planning inspectorate asking if I can submit evidence to the inquiry about the changed status of SAMDev, but I’ve not yet received a response.
Frankly, the council’s position is a bit of a mess given the Foldgate Lane decision. Richborough Estates is already demanding that Shropshire Council doesn’t defend its decision on that development. The argument it is making is that the council should be consistent in applying policy across developments. If the council doesn’t defend its decision to reject Bromfield Meadows, it should not defend the Foldgate Lane decision. If the council were to defend Foldgate Lane, Richborough says, that “would open the council up to challenge” – a hint the company could launch a judicial review of the council’s actions in the high court.
As I say, a bit of a mess.