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Veolia 2006-reaction to permission

Reaction to Hollingdean 2006 permission

Reaction in The Local Press

The Argus 2nd Oct 2006: Protest at start of demolition of buildings containing asbestos to make way for the Dump.



Local residents are very upset about Dump Decision, which challenges the notion that local democracy is continuing to play a part in the planning process
Hollingdean residents and residents in neighbouring localities are still shocked by Brighton and Hove Council's Planning Applications Sub-Committee's decision by 8 votes to 4 in favour of Veolia's proposal to handle all the city's domestic waste at Hollingdean Depot.

How many households are there in Hollingdean? When a Council ignores over 2100 letters of comment objecting to a scheme, this poses a challenge to local democracy and makes residents wonder what a Period of Public Consultation is actually for. There will surely be repercussions at the ballot box in the 2007 Council Elections.

Anger at Dump decision unlikely to dissipate before 2007 Council Elections

2100+ letters of comment represents a massive number of households and means that opposition is rock solid. Councillors from outside Hollingdean and its neighbouring suburbs have ignored the wishes of a sizable slice of the electorate.

Campaigners have vowed to take their fight against a waste transfer site to the European Court after the Government said it would not review the plans.

Brighton Pavilion's MP David Lepper, who has been public in his opposition to Veolia's plans for Hollingdean Depot, is among a number of local politicians requesting that the application should be "called in". So far, attempts have been unsuccessful.

See The Argus 21.07.06 MP fails again in his bid to halt dump. Planning Minister Baroness Andrews repeated the line taken by Ruth Kelly (below) in rejecting David Lepper's second request.

Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities has turned down the request for a "call-in"

Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, has turned down the request. A spokeswoman from her office has said that the proposals for a waste site at Hollingdean, Brighton, are not of national importance and will therefore not be called in for her Secretary of State's consideration. She added that "Since the council has made a decision, that is final." However, "There is scope for the Secretary of State to look at the application again if a major factor emerges that she wasn't aware of at the time but that is unlikely."

A stitch-up?

Pressure for a "call-in" still continues and the Green Party MEP for South East England has also been active in the campaign to stop the Dump going ahead. Many residents have been lobbying local councillors on the basis that not all factors were considered. At least one local resident received a letter from the Secretary of State dismissing the 'call-in' before the Planning Applications Sub-Committee Meeting at which Council's decision (by elected representatives!) was actually made.

Sample letter being used to lobby Local Councillors

Dear Councillor

Are you aware that a planning decision may be revoked if information pertinent to the decision becomes available after the decision notice is issued to the applicant?

The Courts can potentially look to see if decision should be reconsidered, and further, that when taking into account the new material it would be in the interests of good planning to revoke the permission. The Courts do not have to be involved if you lobby to have the decision looked at again.

The power of the local planning authority (LPA) to revoke planning permissions is contained in Section 97 of the Town & Country Planning Act, and the power, in the first instance of the Secretary of State to revoke the permission is contained in Section 100, and Section 99. Revocation is used where the development has not already started, or where it has started, to those parts that have not been started.

It is understood that material facts may not have been presented to Councillors to allow them to make a proper decision and the powers in the Act give an opportunity to correct a failing of the Executive of BHCC before lengthy legal procedures are commenced. These powers could be used to delay development permission until the Statutory Review of the Waste Local Plan is completed. The powers also allow Councillors to consider why a planning decision was approved without referring to the Secretary of State when a commercial contract with the applicant allows for a financial penalty against BHCC if planning were refused.

These are some material considerations the sub-committee members should have been made aware of. If they were not it is a democratic duty of yours to exhaust all the powers you have to remedy this error of the Authority. Members of the public may themselves seek redress under the authority of the Act but they expose themselves to the potential of a claim for damages by the applicant. No such claim can be made against a Councillor acting on behalf of the people whom they represent.

Please consider this carefully and act promptly.

Regards

Name

Address

Letters from Caroline Lucas MEP and Green Party Local Councillors to the Secretary of State

[Councillor Keith Taylor] The summary position is:

1. Caroline Lucas has appealed to GOSE for a call in, principally on national policy contravention (letter attached)
2. Green Cllrs have appealed to GOSE for a call in, principally on departures from Local Plan (letter attached)
3. Both letters argue that the Minister's decision not to call in the planning application should not be used as a justification not to call in the planning decision
4. There is another possible route open to challenge the new uses for the site via the grant of Landlord's permission - that is something I am pursuing and will update cllrs on tomorrow at our GG meeting.

Letter from Caroline Lucas, Green Party MEP for South East England

Secretary of State
Government Office for the South East
Surrey & Sussex Planning Team
Bridge House
1 Walnut Tree Close
Guildford GU1 4GA

Friday, 07 July 2006

Ref Brighton & Hove Planning Application BH2006/00900 – Hollingdean Depot materials recycling facility and waste transfer station, granted June 19, 2006

Dear Secretary of State

I am writing to ask that this planning decision be called in for a Public Inquiry on the following grounds:

1. Development fails to pursue sustainable development in an integrated manner

1.1 This development would fail to adequately comply with national policy contained in PPS10 and PPS1 which state that development plans should ensure that sustainable development is pursued in an integrated manner, in line with the principles of sustainable development set out in the UK strategy. Local planning authorities should ensure that development plans promote outcomes in which environmental, economic and social objectives are achieved together over time.

1.2 In this case, Waste Local Plan policies were not used to ensure that sustainable development was pursued in an integrated way and the development is likely to undermine efforts towards the environmental, social and economic regeneration of the Neighbourhood Renewal Area in which it is located.

1.3 We believe that undue attention was given to the desire of the administration to fulfil the requirements of the waste contract PFI operator, Veolia, to find a convenient site suitable for this purpose whilst running roughshod over community and local councillor concerns about harm to quality of life in this area.

2. Development fails to comply with PPS10 ‘Identifying suitable sites and areas’

21i) “In deciding which sites and address to identify for waste management facilities, waste authorities should assess their suitability for development against each of the following criteria:

(third bullet) the cumulative effect of previous waste disposal facilities on the well-being of the local community, including significant adverse impacts on environmental quality, social cohesion and inclusion or economic potential

(fourth bullet) the capacity of existing and potential transport infrastructure to support the sustainable movement of waste, and products arising from resource recovery, seeking when practicable and beneficial to use modes other than road transport”

2.1 With regard to the third bullet point the main significant impacts on the community’s well being can be summarised thus;

environmental quality: increase in road traffic, with resultant congestion and higher vehicle pollutant levels which will likely result in an extension of an Air Quality Management Area. Higher dust and airborne pollutant levels, noise pollution and longer operating hours. Significant impact on school and homes adjacent to site.

social cohesion and inclusion: the site is located within a Neighbourhood Renewal Area, one of the most deprived wards in the country targeted for special government regeneration. This application has had and continues to have a deeply divisive effect on social cohesion with school staff and governors, local councillors, community groups and residents deeply opposed to it. Over 2000 letters of opposition were received by the local planning authority

economic potential: the site could be used for other employment generating enterprises, without the adverse environmental social and environmental effects

2.2 The total reliance on road transport is not only counter to advice, but also dismisses any potential use of the railway track which runs alongside the site. The surrounding road network is under strain already, and extra vehicle movements, especially of 44 tonne lorries will exacerbate existing problems. In addition, even after the proposed bridge works are complete in Hollingdean Road, that roadway will be a hostile, intimidating and dangerous place for pedestrians and cyclists to use.

The development represents a departure from local development plans

3.1 There are several failures to conform to policies within the Local Plan and Waste Local Plan, which I understand our Brighton & Hove City councillors will be drawing to your attention under separate cover.

Finally I note your letter of June 16 addressed to Mr A Breckenridge, which dismisses a request to call in the application for your own determination in advance of the LPA decision being made. I understand the issue being addressed in your letter was whether to call in the project before LPA determination, and not whether permission itself should or should not be granted. I find it surprising therefore that this decision is being used to justify a refusal to consider calling in the decision itself. At the time of your decision you would neither have been in possession of all the arguments which were presented at the application, nor any representations made following the grant of permission (such as this one).

I am concerned over the lack of a fair hearing in this matter and am waiting for further legal advice, but reserve my right to subsequently return to this issue.

Yours sincerely

Dr Caroline Lucas
Green Party MEP for South East England

At the Planning Applications Sub-Committee Meeting, speeches opposing Veolia's Hollingdean Depot Proposal were made by local Labour Councillors (Pat Hawkes, Juliet McCaffery, Tehmtan Framroze and Jeane Lepper) and local Green Councillors (Richard Mallendar and Keith Taylor). A third local Green Councillor (Sue Paskins), a member of the Sub-Committee, voted against Veolia's Proposal. Labour Councillors are split over this issue, as the voting pattern on the Planning Sub-Committee demonstrated. The Liberal Democrat Member of the Sub-Committee voted against the Dump. Veolia´s plans to incinerate the Hollingdean Depot waste at Newhaven affect Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker's Lewes and Newhaven Constituency. The Conservative Party has kept a low profile on this issue. Local Green Party Councillors have recently added their weight to the continuing campaign to have the application 'called-in' on the basis that not all factors could have been considered. They point out (in their letter below) that at least one local resident received a letter from the Secretary of State dismissing a 'call-in' prior to the Planning Applications Sub-Committee Meeting where different views about Veolia's Proposal were aired and a decision was made. In later communications, the Secretary of State refers to the Council's decision as being final.

Letter from Green Party Local Councillors

Secretary of State, Dept. for Communities and Local Government
Government Office for the South East
Surrey & Sussex Planning Team
Bridge House
1 Walnut Tree Close
Guildford GU1 4GA

Friday, 07 July 2006

Dear Secretary of State

Ref Brighton & Hove Planning Application BH2006/00900 – Hollingdean Depot materials recycling facility and waste transfer station, granted June 19, 2006

I have been given a copy of your letter of June 16 addressed to Mr A Breckenridge/Ms C Donnelly, which dismisses a request to call in the application for your own determination in advance of the LPA decision being made. I understand the issue being addressed in your letter was whether to call in the project before LPA determination, and not whether permission itself should or should not be granted. I therefore find it surprising that this decision is being used to justify a refusal to consider calling in the decision itself.

At the time of your decision you would neither have been in possession of all the arguments which were presented at the application, nor any representations made following the grant of permission (such as this one). To decide any future call in requests should be dismissed out of hand discounts emerging arguments and does not extend the right to a fair hearing embedded in law.

I am therefore writing on behalf of five Brighton & Hove city councillors to ask that this planning decision be called in for a Public Inquiry for the reasons given below.


1 Application fails to meet Waste Local Plan Objectives;

5.5 e) to minimise road traffic associated with the transportation of waste and encourage other modes of transport
5.5 f) to protect the environment and avoid harm to communities and environmentally important and sensitive land issue

1.1 By using only road transport the effect on the already strained local road network will be further compromised.

1.2 5.5 e) has not been fully met as the application makes no use of rail track abutting the site, thereby failing to encourage other methods of transport

1.3 5.5 f) has not been met as the community will be harmed by an increase in road traffic, resultant congestion and higher vehicle pollutant levels which will likely result in an extension of an Air Quality Management Area. Higher dust and airborne pollutant levels, noise pollution and longer operating hours. Significant impact on school and homes adjacent to site.

1.4 Further 5.5 f) as not been met in terms of the social impact of the development. - the site is located within a Neighbourhood Renewal Area, one of the most deprived wards in the country targeted for special government regeneration. This application has had and continues to have a deeply divisive effect on social cohesion with school staff and governors, local councillors, community groups and residents deeply opposed to it. Over 2000 letters of opposition were received by the local planning authority

2 Application fails to meet Local Plan Key Objectives

“e1.3.1).. to make a positive contribution to people’s quality of life in Brighton & Hove
e.1.3.6).. to minimise environmental impact and conserve, sustain and enhance environmental assets and resources”

2.1 Whilst some waste-associated use on this site may make a positive contribution to city-wide quality of life in terms of improved waste management, the large scale of this project represents a major over-development of waste-associated uses on this site, which will seriously detract from resident’s quality of life.

3 Application fails to meet Local Plan requirement to identify sustainable way forward and to provide environmental enhancements

Chapter 2 Energy, water pollution and waste – a sustainable way forward
“2.3) The environmental impact of a proposal must be taken into consideration. Applicants should not only seek to minimise the harmful impacts but also provide environmental enhancements. All development proposals must be designed and located to reflect the aim of achieving sustainable development.”

3.1 Although waste minimisation and increased recycling are in themselves steps toward an integrated and sustainable waste management system, because of the adverse impacts of residential and local amenity, air quality, and the local road network caused by the development it cannot be described as sustainable. Similarly we do not believe sufficient environmental enhancements have been included to offset negative impacts. The application is too large to be integrated sympathetically to the area.

4 Application fails to meet Local Plan Policies

“Policy SU9 - Development that may be liable to cause pollution and/or nuisance to land, air or water will only be permitted where;
human health and safety, amenity, and the ecological well-being of the natural and built environment is not put at risk;
it does not reduce the planning authority’s ability to meet the Government’s air quality and other sustainability targets; and
it does not negatively impact upon the existing pollution and nuisance situation

All proposed developments that have a potential to cause pollution and / or
nuisance, will be required to incorporate measures to minimise the pollution /
nuisance and may invoke the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment.
Where appropriate, planning conditions will be imposed and / or a planning
obligation sought in order to secure the necessary requirements.

Planning permission will only be granted for development on a site adjacent to an existing pollution / nuisance generating use and / or within an air quality ‘hotspot’ or potential ‘hot spot’ where:
the effect on the proposed development, its occupiers and users will not be detrimental; and
the proposed development will not make the pollution and / or nuisance situation worse and where practicable, helps to alleviate the existing problem(s).

In applying this policy, particular attention will be given to a proposal’s location and its impact on other development, land uses and nature conservation

Policy SU12 Hazardous substances
“Proposals which involve the storage or use of hazardous substances, including
extensions to existing sites, will only be permitted where:

a. the location is appropriately distanced and / or buffered from uses which may be adversely affected by potential hazard or pollution which may occur..”

4.1 We consider the LPA did not give sufficient weight or consideration to these issues, and request the issues be considered at a public inquiry.

We are also concerned that the application fails to meet national guidelines PPS10 and PPS1, which we understand has been the subject of a call-in request from Dr Caroline Lucas MEP. We would also support a review of the LPA decision at a public inquiry on these grounds.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Keith Taylor
Convenor, Green Party Councillors
on behalf of Councillors;
Richard Mallender (Preston Park Ward)
Georgia Wrighton (Hanover & Elm Grove Ward)
Bill Randall (Hanover & Elm Grove Ward)
Simon Williams (St Peter’s & North Laine Ward)

Suggestions from The Argus Forum

Complaining about the fairness of the Dump Decision

TO PERSUADE THE GOVERNMENT OFFICE FOR THE SOUTH EAST THAT THIS DECISION NEEDS TO BE CALLED IN.

You can complain to the Local Government Standards Board

Potential reasons could include:

1. that 3 councillors present Dawn Barnett, Don Turner and Brian Fitch ** who sat on the committee represented wards that might be affected if the application was turned down

2. if you were present at the meeting and witnessed the frequent conversations between Cllr Fitch and John Collis (from Veolia) throughout the meeting, again potentially compromising his ability to make an independent decision

The complaint could also be sent to

Brian Foley
Standards and Complaints Manager
Brighton and Hove Council
Kings House
Grand Avenue, Hove, BN3 2LS

or Emailed to the Standards and Complaints team on
complaints@brighton-hove.gov.uk

The complaint could also be put to ththe Ombudsman. Use
this link for details of how this can be done.

from The Argus Forum

** Brian Fitch (the Labour whip on the council) and (former mayor) Bob Carden were the two new members of the planning committee Labour appointed this May in place of their own Francis Tonks and Kevin Allen - who, if you remember, were the two Labour councillors that voted against the Marina development when it got turned down last year.

As "party men", both Fitch and Carden are there for reason - to get the Labour group's most pressing business through planning before next May's uncertain election results - basically, the Marina, the Waste Transfer Station and the King Alfred.

Lessons for the Council
Members of the Council's Planning Application Sub-Committee admitted that it was unfortunate that they had not found time to visit an up-and-running UK Waste Transfer Station and Recycling Centre before making their decision. Indeed, they very nearly voted for a deferment to allow time for further investigation. This was lost by a single vote: 3 in favour; 4 against.

The up-and-running scheme they regarded as a suitable candidate for a visit was The Waste Transfer Station and Recycling Centre at Islington on the old Arsenal football ground.

Although the whole Islington project involved more than one proposal, this concerns significant installations.

How many objections were there to this important part of the Islington scheme?

Not 2000! Only one objection was received from an individual resident in addition to fourteen objections from commercial occupiers.

Response to Islington Consultation

7.6 Fifteen responses had been received at the time this report was finalised, all but one of them from commercial occupiers. All but one of the representations raised objections to the scheme. Three of these responses were in response to the second round of consultation and were from people who had objected originally. Their additional responses reiterated their original objections. The responses are summarised as follows.

What were these commercial occupiers concerned about?

- Concern that Queensland Road and the intersection of Benwell Rd/Queensland Road are inadequate to take large waste transfer lorries unless a number of buildings are demolished and road widening works carried out. This is the basis of many of the objections.

- Use of Queensland Road by waste transfer vehicles would compromise the efficient and safe use of the street by vehicles associated with existing businesses, thereby compromising business operations and potentially hampering access for emergency vehicles.

-The scheme would result in congestion within the surrounding roading network, (e.g. along Holloway Road, Hornsey Road, Seven Sisters Road) inconveniencing road users and affecting travel times.

-Inadequate information has been submitted about the expected vehicular movements.

-There is no analysis of alternative routes such as through the Edlon site (56-65 Ashburton Grove).

-Potential dust nuisance resulting from demolition works.

-Application is premature to the Compulsory Purchase Order enquiry and should not be considered until local businesses have been relocated.

-Concern that the application had been made with an agenda to frustrate and interrupt existing businesses in Queensland Road to cause those businesses to either voluntarily relocate, or to sell their businesses more readily to the Arsenal Football Club, or to reduce the valuation of these properties for reasons relating to poor vehicular access.

-Concerns about how this scheme relates to or conflicts with proposals to stop roads in the vicinity [the impending Stopping Up Order for Ashburton Grove].


The Islington example seems to have caused more concern to local businesses than local residents

What conclusions can be drawn from this? Firstly, Brighton and Hove City Council should note that 2000+ is a massive number of objections. It may be safe to ignore 15 objections, but ignore 2000+ (even in a city of 300,000) and this undermines the notion that local planning decisions have anything to do with local democracy.

Secondly, while the residents of Hollingdean mounted a splendid campaign, in Islington it seems that local businesses were more concerned than local residents about increased traffic volume involving 44-tonne lorries. It would be interesting to know if any of these objectors did relocate their businesses as a result of the development.

Possible implications for businesses on the Centenary Estate and in & around Lewes Rd

One wonders how the predicted log-jam on Hollingdean Road and at the Vogue Gyratory is going to effect local businesses on the Centenary Estate and in & around Lewes Road

Is Brighton and Hove City Council afraid of local democracy?
The Report & Recommendation on Veolia's Hollingdean Depot proposal, prepared by unelected Council Officers, appears to have been available as an internal document (e.g. accessible to Council Officers and Local Councillors via their own private log-ins on The Council Diary & Decisions web site) for the best part of one week.

However, the same long document was only made available to the public on the Council's web site on Friday 16th June 2006, which leaves no working days before the Planning Applications Sub-Committee Meeting on Monday 19th June 2006. I've kept my copy of this document, but cannot find a link to any electronic version of the document on the Council's website today.

Particular attention should be given to fair public debate with regard to the Hollingdean Depot application, because here the Council is in the strange position of being both the client and the adjudicator (to the extent that the Report & Recommendation brings a lot of influence to bear on the elected representatives who make the decision).

Committed campaigners will want to read the Report & Recommendation in time to make their final representations to Members of the Council's Planning Applications Sub-Committee (Their email addresses take the form: Firstname.Surname@brighton-hove.gov.uk
), especially if the Report contains inaccuracies and the Recommendation is based on false assumptions.

Local residents can bring particular knowledge to bear on documents relating to their own neighbourhoods. Some will have speaking rights. Local Councillors with speaking rights would have had the best part of one week to digest the information. Why are ordinary residents expected to do this over a weekend?

Parents' busy schedules (and jobs - not usually based in Council Offices) mean that they deserve more time, not less.

Planning becomes an uneven playing-field when those opposing an application are not given time to assimilate and respond to the main arguments the proponents of the application are presenting to the Planning Applications Sub-Committee.

"The truth" is so often to be found in "the detail". If one side is not given time to scrutinize the accuracy of what is being presented by the other, then Members of a Sub-Committee who do not live in Hollingdean may very easily be swayed by partial truths and false claims.

The scale of objections and the lack of support for Veolia's revised proposal
By the time that Council published its Report and Recommendation, 2182 letters of comment had been received. Of these, 2157 were from residents opposed to the scheme, 23 were objections from organised groups and 2 letters were from individuals supporting the scheme.

The Report's Summary of comments from The Round Hill Society

The Roundhill Society: Objection. The use of the depot is not suitable for the area made up of homes and schools. The new roadways and accesses will not be safe for pedestrians and other road users. Extra noise and disturbance from comings and goings of traffic. The Road Safety Audit leaves some safety issues unresolved. Road realignment will not help highway safety. Proposal incompatible with Sustainable Transport Strategy set out the Local Transport Plan. Proposal would adversely affect air quality. Splitting the uses should be considered on different sites. Hangleton Bottom’s AONB status given too much weight. Question Alternative Sites Assessment and reasons for choosing between short listed sites.

Council's Report glosses over vitally important details
Right from the time that the Council signed a contract with Onyx to manage the area's waste, conditions would have been set. Most of the conditions defining Council's recommendation to accept Veolia's scheme are not new.

While the Council has documented the large number of objections to the scheme and has used some of them as the basis for obligations and conditions, many important arguments and concerns have been glossed over.

It is disappointing that the Report merely re-states Veolia's Alternative Site Assessment without questioning whether the process was fair or whether the conclusions were any more than unsubstantiated claims.

While the Report summarizes the RHS's major concern ("The Road Safety Audit leaves some safety issues unresolved") it does not produce the detail of these comments. The Report does not contain any solution to the unresolved problem of sufficient physical space under a Victorian railway bridge for 44-ton lorries, two footways, pedestrians, cyclists i.e. all users.

"The Truth" (in the form of valid objections which deserve further consideration) has been glossed over in this Report.

This page was last updated by Ted on 06-Jan-2019
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