Having given his evidence yesterday afternoon, Phil Bell of Motion, our transport consultant, was subjected to long cross-examination from the Dunsfold Park’s QC. This lasted until tea time. The key issue was sustainability. The questioning covered the definition of sustainability, the viability of the proposed bus service (which Mr Bell had challenged) and the difference between Mr Bell’s traffic forecasts and those produced on behalf of Dunsfold Park. Dunsfold Park made much of the SCC’s acceptance of their modelling and bus proposals. Mr Bell robustly defended his position that the proposal is unsustainable and cannot be made sustainable. This is, of course, the position also held by Surrey County Council, the Highways Authority.
As Waverley Borough Council’s QC had no questions for Mr Bell, the Inquiry then took evidence from Mr Robin Shepherd of Barton Willmore, our planning consultant. (But before he spoke, Dunsfold Park distributed some new information which, it appears, quite dramatically reduces the number of new jobs now expected to be provided. This will no doubt be discussed further tomorrow.)
This afternoon the key issue raised was again sustainability. Mr Shepherd explained the Government’s policy and drew attention to the inconsistency between Waverley Borough Council’s attitude to the Dunsfold Park proposal – which it approved –and the neighbouring Springbok Development – which it had turned down as unsustainable. Mr Shepherd also:
- Emphasised the importance of the 2009 rejection of the similar proposal by the then Secretary of State: he argued nothing had changed
- Questioned the guarantee of the bus service in perpetuity, described by Surrey County Council as “a leap of faith”.
He also touched on the use of a brownfield site, loss of ancient woodland, and the relative importance of the existing and emerging plans and the prematurity of this application among other things.
Mr Shepherd will be cross–examined tomorrow morning. Representations from the public will be heard in the afternoon. Thursday’s session will start at the earlier time of 9.30am, with the afternoon session starting at 2.00pm.