Sunday, 6 September 2009

SPLAT update....

SPLAT UPDATE 04 September 2009
Dear Supporter


On the 2nd September, the Secretary of State issued his decision on the Pyestock Appeal.

Regrettably the Secretary overturned the Inspector’s decision to refuse the planning application on environmental grounds and instead gave priority to the provision of 1500 jobs.

SPLAT has always recognised that Pyestock is identified as an employment site, but has sought a more sustainable solution that reduced both in and out commuting and created more appropriate jobs for local communities. It has been our contention, that with very low levels of unemployment (latest figure for July 2009 -North Hampshire 2.4% against a national average of 4.1% (625th lowest constituency in the country) that the majority of the work force will commute into the area. Warehouse workers salaries are low and house prices in the Fleet and Farnborough area are very high.

We are particularly saddened that the Secretary of State in approving a road only distribution facility has failed to take the initiative to ensure a truly sustainable development and has gone against the government’s own climate change Policy. By accepting the massive increase in heavy goods vehicle traffic operating 24 x 7 he has condemned the residents of St Johns to intolerable traffic noise 24 hours a day and has committed local commuters and the residents of Southwood to the consequences of increased traffic congestion.

We have no doubt that the protected bird species on the SPA will not thank the SoS for the light, noise and traffic pollution that he has inflicted on their fragile habitat. We will need to seek clarification from the European Commission that they support Natural England’s interpretation of the European Directive and that the threatened bird species are being given the protection afforded to them by European law.

We probably speak for everyone who enjoys the woods and open green areas adjacent to the site that the recreational value of the open space will be impaired by this 24x7 operation and a locally valued amenity will be spoilt forever.

SPLAT is very disappointed that the Secretary of State has not taken local opinion into account in coming to his decision to permit this contentious development. Local concerns are real and the fears are well-founded. Central government has ridden rough shod over the District Council’s decision, the Inspector’s decision and local concern. The Inspector spent several weeks listening to the evidence and cross examinations and spent significant time familiarising herself with local conditions. All this local knowledge has been dismissed. The government’s policy of empowering local communities rings very hollow.

This is not the end of the campaign; SPLAT will explore the legality of the decision. If we are ultimately frustrated we will monitor construction and operation of the facility to ensure that the developer meets every legal standard and fully complies with every planning condition placed on him.

We took Rule 6 status, faced cross-examination by the best QC in the country and convinced the Inspector to find in our favour. She dismissed both appeals. We are understandably shocked that the final outcome was a political decision by a government committed to development and jobs at any cost.

The members of SPLAT’s core team wish to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed in so many ways to sustain this campaign and we are sorry that the Secretary of State has denied us the result that we all clearly deserved. We are waiting for legal advice from our barrister before we make our next move.

SPLAT HQ Together We Can Win!

Tel: 01252 679773 (Until the SoS overrules the Inspector)



SPLAT - Stop Pyestock bLot Act Today

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