We’ve been advised that the full Council meeting has also been moved – see above (please note change of time also). Please keep an eye on our website in case it gets moved again. Please try to attend both meetings (but especially the Full Council meeting) - it helps if they see the level of public opposition. The full Council meeting will be the last opportunity to reverse or delay the approval of the LDF which will create the framework which would allow 2000 homes at Adastral Park to be built. After that, the LDF will be submitted to the planning inspector for approval – this may not happen until 2011.
If the Council approves it, our only recourse will be representation at the LDF Inspection stage and objections to BT’s planning applications. BT has already submitted its Outline Planning Application (additional BT planning application documents have recently been published on SCDC’s website and the public have only until the 25th February to respond to these). The Council must decide whether or not to grant Outline Planning Permission within a statutory time frame (13 weeks). BT has so far agreed, several times, to put back this deadline pending the Council’s decision on the LDF, but BT is unlikely to agree to delay long enough for the LDF Inspection stage to be completed. It therefore seems likely that SCDC will grant OPP once full Council has agreed the LDF, despite the controversiality of the proposal and the level of public opposition. Once OPP has been granted, it would be much more difficult to stop the development at detailed planning application stages.
We believe that the Council’s responses to the comments and objections which people submitted to the LDF consultation are totally inadequate. In some cases they have not even addressed the detailed points which they list as having been raised. It looks like nothing would have caused the Council to change its plans for 2000 houses on the BT site. Given that this change in allocation was the main focus of the last consultation, and that virtually every member of the public who responded to it raised objections, it is difficult to conclude that the process has been anything other than a box-ticking exercise.
We believe the right course of action now is that the Cabinet should take on board the recommendations from the Scrutiny Committee, and in particular should refer the Core Strategy back to the LDF Task Group. In addition revised figures will be available in the next few weeks updating the data on recent housing builds, granted planning applications and newly available brownfield sites. This data is a key input on which the forecast of future land allocation requirements is based. The council should not be taking major decisions to build on the BT greenfield land without up to date base data.