Dear Simon Finch
First may I thank you for the evenhandedness of your contributions to yesterday’s hearing.
I only wish you had been able to stay longer.
This was the first time I have attended such a hearing, and for several reasons I am very dissappointed with how the system works.
1. It is weighted in favour of the case officer’s recommendation. He makes his, untimed, report, then has the right to reply after the other speakers who are resticted to 3 minutes, and then of course he continues to speak in response to members’ questions.
2.This means that errors in his report continue to be repeated unchallenged and stay in members’ minds as correct facts.
for eg. Simon Avery repeated told the Committee that Goodfellow’s Yard as a previously agricultural yard would have had agricultural machinery in it. This is just a factually incorrect supposition.
Prior to The Change of Use to industrial storage inside the buildings only, the permitted use was a livestock transportation yard, which was actually called lairage at the time. Livestock for the continent arrived in the evening in lorries and spent the night in the sheds before leaving for Portsmouth in the early morning. There was never any machinery of any sort in the yard and nothing in it during the day at all. This was probably why at the time of the Change of Use Permission, inside-only use was stipulated.
Mr Avery was told this previously by me and by the speaker yesterday, and he could have easily checked what livestock transportation actually entailed. But he did not. It was rather relevant to whether outside use should now be permitted.
3. The calibre of the majority of the members’ debate and their comments, and the grounds upon which they made their decisions, ignoring the many proper planning considerations put forward by the speakers, in favour of, for eg.
‘I was annoyed by a minibus parking outside my town house but had to put up with it because it was legal, therefore Clewers Hill residents should put up with articulated lorries parking in their road.’
‘the residents in Curdridge Lane who look down on Church House Farm are lucky to have such a view,'(and, implied, should not complain about having it spoiled)
‘ the countryside is not a park; food production is good, and hence any contributory industry to that is also good’
‘a machine servicing shed should look like a shed, and we should not be concerned with how it fits into the countryside’
4. Afterwards I spoke to Neil March and Janine Wright about the predominence given in the reports and the debate to the one only registered complaint to Environment about noise nuisance, compared to Neil’s one sentence referring to 4 years worth of 100’s of complaints, with logs and photographs, of traffic nuisance reported to Enforcement. Neil said ‘well they were not about noise’; but traffic is inherently noisy, as well as the other nuisances it has caused.
Janine is so sweet I can see why she was easily misled by Mr Coleman and Mr Airey. But she still said to me ‘just ring me about anything and we will do something’. But we contacted her for 4 years about unpermitted B2 use by Exsel almost from the very day they moved there, and look what has happened – they have been given B2 permission as their reward for just continuing in breach.
5. A small piece of pedantry;
Simon Avery referred to a ‘menage’ in his response to a question about what was the hard standing showed in the aerial view of Church House Farm.
Remember you had told me you had informed all ‘Plinnang’ officers that the correct word is manege!
Kind Regards anyway