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Put Champagne on ice

April 23, 2004
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The good news finally came yesterday. A 2 year long fight with a major UK developer over a new St George development site in an existing woodland was over.

The results from the public enquiry had come back: the local residents, represented by SRRA, had won.

The process culminated in a public enquiry where the arguments from both sides were presented and a decision was made by the inspector:

In my judgement the overall planning balance is heavily weighted against the scheme. The manner in which the present proposals respond to the attributes and address the constraints of the site has sacrificed many environmental quality objectives for the sake of maximising the amount of accommodation. I conclude that the appeals should be dismissed and that planning permission should be refused

Have a look at the SRRA summary or download the inspectors full report.

I have learned that the democratic system is a double-edged sword. While it gave us residents an opportunity to affect the local council in their decision, it also gave the developers right to appeal a chain of decisions against their "monstrous" plans. (However their practice of submitting dual identical applications in order not to give the council a chance to reply in assigned time and thus escalating the matter was less than honest.)

The victory would not have been possible without the organisation skills and eloquence of local resident Phillipe Auclair. As another resident put it, "A whole lot of people were doing their bit but without Phillipe's help we would not have known what our bits were". Phillipe's eloquence was both a motivator to all of us and a stinging to the developer's arguments.

"Is this the end?" one of the local residents asked. "It's more like the beginning of a long struggle to keep the woodland unharmed" was the consensus of the groups leading group.



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