Dunsfold Park Public Inquiry – Day 3 (20th July) Summary
Mr Robin Shepherd of Barton Willmore, our planning consultant, gave his evidence yesterday afternoon, so the morning session opened with cross examination by Dunsfold Park’s QC, Mr Christopher Katkowski. Mr Katkowski argued that the emerging Plan would certainly include Dunsfold Park. Mr Shepherd argued that the Inspector’s finding on the Plan were provisional and much more work needed to be done. There was a long discussion on the interpretation of the National Planning Policy Framework over which Mr Katkowski and Mr Shepherd disagreed. Mr Katkowski then moved on to the impacts/costs (including the loss of ancient woodland) and alleged benefits of the proposal including affordable housing and the number of jobs created (albeit now reduced). Mr Shepherd argued the benefits were limited because neither the houses nor the jobs were where they were most needed and that many of the benefits were actually mitigations, which should not count.
The cross examination of Mr Shepherd continued into the afternoon.
Representations from the public commenced at 2:35pm and consisted of a mix of powerful presentations against the application from individual residents and individual parish councils. While the recurring themes of transport, rat runs, and HGVs came up with plenty of ‘real life examples’, there were also new and compelling representations covering Conservation and Heritage, Landscape views from an artist’s perspective, response times for emergency services, and the impact and necessity for such high buildings including the 100’ high waste plant chimney. The Shalford junction improvement that takes common land was challenged, and the lack of provision for the horse riding community (especially road crossings and new connected bridleways). It was time also for parishes and village communities to stand up to say that, yes, they are already self-contained and sustainable, but the same could not be guaranteed for the new town which might instead end up as a ‘sink estate’.
Tomorrow will continue with representations from the public starting at 10.00. If anyone wishes to attend and make any statement they are welcome to do so, but are advised to arrive a few minutes early to ensure a place in the Public Gallery at the Council Offices. The inspector has been taking copies of any notes that speakers have, but this is not an absolute requirement!