Update on unauthorised developments in Silchester
Recent days have seen considerable activity with regards to the unauthorised residential developments in the Parish by members of the Traveller community.
Land off Little London Road near Culhams Mill
You will be aware that the applicants recently lodged an appeal against the Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council (BDBC) planning process on the grounds of their failure to make a planning determination. The Calleva Society and Silchester Parish Council have liaised closely with the BDBC planning department, and we are aware that they have been working hard on reviewing the case and putting together the paperwork to bring about their determination. Whilst we have not seen any of the paperwork, we continue to be confident that that the case for refusing this application remains very strong indeed on at least seven significant different planning issues. The fact that the appeal has been lodged before the determination having been published makes very little difference at all in the overall scheme of things. It is inevitable that a refusal would have gone to appeal so the fact that a step in the process has been omitted actually speeds the process up marginally.
On a positive note, the fact that the appeal against the High Court injunction was refused last November means that the injunction remains in force. It seems to have had an effect as the site appears to have been deserted since December. Unfortunately, however, there is evidence that it is now being used as an unlawful dump for commercial waste. We have reported this to Hampshire County Council and are awaiting a response.
With regards the appeal process, those of you that submitted an objection to BDBC will have received a letter stating that the case has now gone to an inquiry being conducted by the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol. We have been advised by our planning consultant that we should now submit our objections again by email to Alison.Bell@pins.gsi.gov.uk or by post at the following address….
Always quote the reference APP/H1705/W/18/3194978
As with all planning issues, volume matters so we would encourage anyone that continues to object to this site to submit their objections before the cut-off date of 17th April 2018. As previously, we have drafted a template that can be downloaded here for those who choose to use it. Please remember to sign it and include your name and address as anonymous objections cannot be accepted.
The Calleva Society, through its planning consultant, Aaron Smith, is applying to be a “Rule 6” participant in the appeal. If this status is granted (it is unlikely that it should be refused) this means that the Calleva Society will be a full participant in the inquiry on a level with both BDBC and the applicants. As a result, the Society will become privy to all evidence being submitted to the inspectorate prior to the case being heard. We will be able to review all of this evidence and provide counter arguments as well representing the concerns of village residents.
At this point in time we believe that the inquiry will be held sometime around November. In the meantime, we continue to lobby BDBC to submit an enforcement notice against the site to run alongside the appeal that will require the owners to remove the hard core that has been dumped there.
Land off Bramley Road
Recently a three acre paddock to the west of Bramley Road and just south of Greenlands Farm was advertised and sold through a local estate agent. Rumours about the ownership of this field have been rife in the village and BDBC was notified last week. With the Easter weekend looming the concern has been that this would be the subject of a further unauthorised development similar in manner to the Culhams Mill site. It is to the tremendous credit of the BDBC planning enforcement team that they have taken seriously the concerns of residents and obtained a High Court injunction, which was served on the land today. This is the highest form of restraint that a Council can bring about and, given the amount of work involved, they should be commended for being proactive and having achieved this in only a few days. The injunction means that any persons bringing hard core, building materials, caravans or mobile homes onto the site will be committing a criminal office and could be liable to imprisonment.
Notices are published on the land itself and we would like to encourage residents of Silchester to make this injunction as widely known as possible. Our hope is that we this will discourage anyone that intends to knowingly develop the site without planning permission as well as any haulage companies that might become unwitting participants. We would never encourage anyone to enter into any kind of confrontational situation but if a non-confrontational opportunity arises it may be appropriate for residents to politely point out to haulage companies/drivers that the injunction is in place. At the end of the day, they have a waste transfer licence that allows them to trade and it is unlikely that they would want to deliberately jeopardise this.
If anyone does see caravans, plant machinery or tipper lorries arriving at the site we encourage you to take a note of their registration number (or ideally a photo) and report it to the Police via 101, or to the Calleva Society or Parish Council so that the appropriate authorities can be notified.
We are still finalising our costs for the appeal process and will be having a major fundraising effort when these are clearer. In the meantime if you would like to help with our on ongoing legal and professional costs you can donate by BACS to The Calleva Society, Sort code: 30-91-91, Account number: 28114060 Or by PayPal, paypal.me/calleva or directly to the firstname.lastname@example.org
Simon Mahaffey Chair Silchester Parish Council
Steve Spillane Chairman Calleva Society