PRESS NOTICE FOR SHROPSHIRE STAR September 8, 2013

VOLUNTEER ACTION GROUP ATTEMPTS TO REDUCE PUBLIC SECTOR SPENDING ON PLANNING INQUIRY RE-RUN

The controversial application to build a large Sainsbury’s hypermarket on Greenfield land outside the historic Market Town of Newport has to have the previous incomplete Inquiry re-run in January 2014 due to the sad death of the Inspector earlier this year.

Save Newport Campaign, the volunteer partnership representing the Newport Regeneration Partnership, Chamber of Trade and Town Council in trying to ensure appropriate development in Newport and the sustainable future of its High St has written again to the Planning Inspectorate this week, pressing for a meeting in order to try and agree a process to avoid duplicated costs at the re-run Inquiry.

Telford & Wrekin Council, supporting the Sainsbury’s proposal to build on council-owned land, have already incurred considerable tax-payer funded costs on legal advice, planning lawyers, transport and retail consultancies not only to support this application but to fight other planning applications including that at Mere Park and also the Audley Avenue Morrison’s on brownfield land, already given earlier approval by an independent Inspector, against which the Council is seeking leave to go to the Appeal Court.

Save Newport Campaign (SNC) believes that costs could be much reduced at the January 2014 Inquiry if all parties came together to agree a process to avoid unnecessary replication of previous evidence already heard in 2013 and raised these queries with the Planning Inspectorate in July.

…”a substantial amount of evidence has already been heard at the previous inquiry, and the extent to which this needs to be re-heard is a fundamental issue. As a result, SNC would like to progress the proposed meeting in order to agree with both the Inspectorate and with all other represented parties, the extent to which this needs to be reconsidered in full”.

Their request to the Inspectorate concentrates on the need for agreement on:

1) the extent to which evidence which has already been presented to the Inquiry will need to be re-examined again;

2) the extent to which any new evidence arising since the last inquiry adjourned should be presented;

3) the extent to which there are any areas of any submission made to the previous inquiry which were either non- contentious, or may be appropriately dealt with in another way e.g. by written submissions;

4) the extent to which any other savings may be made to ensure an efficiently run Inquiry, such as dealing with matters by theme rather than by presentation of each case.

If these issues were agreed in advance, a 4 week Inquiry with all the associated legal and other professional fees would be reduced on ALL sides, saving much needed tax-payer funding. “ We feel strongly that since so much of the evidence presented on all sides will simply be repeated that with good will on all sides, a more efficient and cost effective Inquiry could be heard to the benefit of all, especially the tax-payer” commented David Parker, Chairman of the SNC

The SNC activities have been undertaken largely by a group of volunteers, together with a small grant from Newport Town Council, a report about which will be presented at the Newport Town Council on Wednesday evening, September 11

SNC report for NTC (31-08-13)

 

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