Green light for new Scout Hut/Youth Centre thanks to £100,000 in two new pledges

News from 1st Goostrey Scouts:

Young people in Goostrey, Cheshire East will soon be enjoying a much needed new Scout Hut and Youth Centre courtesy of recent contributions, totalling £100,000, given to 1st Goostrey Scouts.  A £50,000 award has been made by grant funding body WREN and this has been matched by the £50,000 donation from Goostrey Parish Council.  Combined with the £100,000 already raised through the energetic efforts of the whole community, over the past two years, the Scout Hut fund now stands at £200,000 – a massive 80% of the £250,000 estimated build cost of the new facility.

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Cllrs Peter Godfrey and Cath McCubbin present GPC’s £50,000 to 1st Goostrey Scout leader David Giles

A £50,000 grant, awarded by WREN’s FCC Community Action Fund, will be used for the internal fit-out of the facility, including plumbing, electrics and decoration.  At its May meeting, Goostrey Parish Council decided to make a donation of £50,000 to the new facility to match the WREN grant, which will help to kick-start the commencement of work on the new building.

David Giles, Group Scout Leader of 1st Goostrey Scouts believes that the facility will make a huge difference to the lives of our young people. He says: “In just two years the Scout Group has raised over £100,000 through community fundraising events, involving so many members of our community. We are greatly indebted to WREN, which has awarded this wonderful £50,000 grant, and also to Goostrey Parish Council which has responded so generously with a £50,000 donation to help the building to materialise.”

David added: “This partnership between 1st Goostrey Scouts, WREN, Goostrey Parish Council and the whole community will allow our new Scout Hut and Youth Centre to take shape over the next 12 months. We very much hope it will be ready for use next summer by all sections of Scouts and Guides, as well as Goostrey Pre-School and other local youth groups.”

Scout Hut CGI

Computer generated image of the new Scout Hut

WREN, a not-for-profit business, awards grants for community, biodiversity and heritage projects from funds donated by FCC Environment through the Landfill Communities Fund.

Richard Smith, WREN’s grant manager for Cheshire, says: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Goostrey Scout Hut and Youth Centre project and pleased our funding will make such a difference to so many groups and young people in and around Goostrey. WREN is always happy to consider grant applications for projects that benefit local communities and we’re looking forward to this one having a positive impact very soon.”

Peter Godfrey, Chairman of Goostrey Parish Council said: “At its meeting held on the 10th May, Goostrey Parish Council voted to donate a further £50,000 towards the cost of building a new Scout Hut and Youth Facility in Goostrey.

“The Parish Council appreciates the extraordinary efforts that the Scouts have put into raising funds for this community project and is delighted with the success they have had so far.

“We also appreciate that Goostrey residents have been the main contributors to the fundraising and this level of generosity and support has encouraged the Council to make this generous donation. This will both secure the WREN Grant that has been offered to the Scouts and, we hope, also act as a spur for further donations to complete the project.”David Giles went on: “The project could not have gone ahead without the generosity and support of the Parish Council. It not only gifted the land for the new building and paid for the demolition of the derelict Youth Centre but also has actively supported Goostrey Scouts throughout the project. Further land, to provide an outside play area and parking for the facility, has also been made available through a 60 year lease, thanks to the generosity of local landowners Mrs Woods and Mr Buchan.

He concluded: “We are not, however, resting on our laurels in our quest for the remaining funds. We have applied for a number of other grants, and have appealed to local organisations and businesses to make further generous donations, and are confident that local people will continue to support our active fundraising programme.”   1st Goostrey Scouts.

Donations can be made directly to the Scout Hut and Youth Centre at:

https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/1stgoostreyscoutgroup

Media Information:   Continue reading

Gladman’s Shear Brook inquiry: day 5 Part 2

Closing statements.

The first to speak was Mr Christopher Katkowski QC on behalf of Cheshire East.

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Professor Garrington with Mr Katkowski QC

The first three paragraphs of his statement in full:

“This is a test case for the Secretary of State as it is the first in decades to fall to be determined by Central Government where the key issue is protecting the integrity of the Lovell Radio Telescope, and with it radio astronomy at Jodrell Bank.  As stressed repeatedly and it is common ground, the Lovell Radio Telescope is of international importance and protecting it and the work of the Observatory from harm is of global significance.”

“The Government has worked extremely hard to bring the global HQ of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) to Jodrell Bank; the SKA decided to have its HQ at Jodrell Bank because it is a world-class, operational observatory.   “a key factor being that the [radio frequency interference] environment remains as benign as possible” (SKA Director-General).   Allowing 119 homes to be built close to the Observatory, in the direction (to the south west of the Observatory) where the Lovell Telescope is deployed for much the time conducting its most internationally significant work (pulsar timing measurements) in circumstances where it is agreed that the internationally accepted definition of the threshold above which interference would be detrimental to radio astronomy would be exceeded to a very large extent by emissions from the proposed development, would run the clear and present risk of undermining the confidence of the SKA in its desire to be associated with Jodrell Bank. The point is not (as put by the Inspector) whether the work of the SKA’s HQ would be directly impinged upon by interference from the development – it would not. Rather the point is one of esteem, of pride through association, if the Government does not protect the host – Jodrell Bank – from avoidable harm to its work, then what message does that send to the SKA about the continuing wisdom of its decision to have its HQ at Jodrell Bank? The question answers itself but in the words of the SKA’s Director-General this “may well have a negative impact on the view of the UK as an international partner to projects such as the SKA.”

“The point about avoidable harm is an important one. There is nothing practicable that the Government or the Observatory can do to reduce the relentless increase in devices used by existing residents near to Jodrell Bank e.g. in Goostrey, or in the wider Consultation Zone around Jodrell Bank, which already, and will increasingly in the future, cause very real problems for the efficacy of the Lovell Telescope.  BUT the Government does have the ability to stop new development adding to these problems; this can be achieved by the simple step of refusing planning permission e.g. for the appeal proposals which undoubtedly would amount to a very real additional threat to the globally significant work carried out at the Observatory.”

Mr Katkowski then became more technical, quoting policies and law and the NPPF and how these should be used in this case.

The protection of Swanwick Hall, a Grade II listed building was also a significant part of CEC’s defence in this appeal. Again using technicalities of law and quotes obtained from Gladman’s planner under cross examination Mr Katkowski showed that this alone should cause the appeal to be dismissed “come what may”.

The point that Cheshire East does not have a five year housing supply was not ignored, but he argued that the proposed development would only be a miniscule part of the solution to this problem and was not worthy of the harm that it would cause.

Then came the Parish Council’s barrister Mr John Hunter. 

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John Hunter; GPC’s barrister

He presented similar arguments regarding Jodrell Bank but also explored the concern of precedent. “Whilst a concern about precedent was dismissed by the Twemlow Inspector, the fact that the decision is being relied on by the Appellant in this appeal is one of the ironies of the case.”

Similarly the matter of harm to the setting of Swanwick Hall was covered with an accusation of Gladman’s heritage evidence defying common sense. “The building is a farmhouse. It reads as such and, it its current open and still relatively isolated setting, allows one to appreciate the aforementioned historic associations with the surrounding field and the area.  By contrast, when this part of its original setting is lost, those connections and even the building’s basic character as a historic farmhouse will be much harder appreciate.”   The Parish Council heritage case however also included protection of the unlisted Heritage Asset Holly Bank Farm and the historic hedgerows which can been seen from Main Road.

Cheshire East were only allowed to defend the appeal on the reasons which were given at the original Planning Committee hearing.  The Parish Council however had no such constraints, so John Hunter went on to speak about the significant impact on the views of Jodrell Bank and Swanwick Hall from Footpath 12.

But most significantly he was able to challenge the assertion that Goostrey is a sustainable location. “Therefore … even taking account of its rural context, the development would not:

* Be accessible for the local services required to support its needs and health, social and cultural well-being.
*Provide a “real choice” of sustainable modes of transport – on the contrary, it would inevitably depend predominantly on car use.
*Be located where the need to travel is minimised and the use of sustainable modes of transport can be maximised.”

A brief excursion into the loss of Best and Most Versatile agricultural land lead the remainder of his statement into technicalities of Planning law.

Finally Mr Richard Kimblin QC gave his statement on behalf Gladman Developments Ltd.

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Richard Kimblin QC for Gladman with Dr Trotta

Unusually he preceded his statement by thanking the Parish Council for the way in which they had conducted themselves.  (We are not sure what he was fearing they might get up to, or indeed what other Parish Councils do, but his kind words were appreciated.)

“A tenacious presumption in favour of the grant of Planning Permission”.  This is a phrase which comes from a recent High Court Judgement and was applied to sites which sit in areas where there is no proven housing land supply.  Mr Kimblin stressed that this should apply to this appeal and pointed out that development of this site would help to avoid the social ills which come with under provision of housing and give many economic benefits by supporting the construction industry.   All “without effect upon ecology, biodiversity, the creation of a flood risk or any other material environmental effect. … Moreover, the above benefits would be achieved in a sustainable location.”

“The Councils, and particularly the District Council, are to be congratulated for the ingenuity and imagination which has been directed to their cases. Those cases are replete with novel, imaginative and bold points.”

He then went through many technical points of interpretation of law pointing out the fallacies in the Councils’ logic.

The much quoted policy PS10 was considered yet again. “Within the Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope Consultation Zone … development will not be permitted which can be shown to impair the efficiency of the Jodrell Bank radio telescope.”  This might seem straight forward, but since there is already harm being done to Jodrell Bank by radio interference how much additional interference constitutes harm?

Mr Kimblin accused the three parties of using the Jodrell Bank issue for their own purposes.
“JBO is focused on one issue – observing and learning about space.  It is not required to consider the effects of its preferred environment on the wider social, economic and simply basic needs of society.”
“Cheshire East lacks enthusiasm for residential development” – as demonstrated by its lack of housing land supply, an underestimation of need for housing in the preparation of the Local Plan, and strong track record of challenging decisions which inhibit its scope to refuse planning permission.
“As for the Parish Council, it and many people who spoke at the Inquiry object on any and all grounds to residential development in Goostrey.”

The Parish Council were also criticised for presenting all kinds of planning materials to the inquiry but not calling experts to be cross examined on these, whilst enjoying the luxury of cross examining Gladman’s witnesses. (Cllr Ken Morris might not have wholeheartedly agreed with this after undergoing Mr Kimblin’s cross examination!)

Swanwick Hall concerns were dismissed; partly because it was already close to the edge of Goostrey settlement but also because the main heritage interest are the hidden 17th century timbers.

So what happens now?  The inquiry is complete. The Inspector will write a report summarising the arguments and making his recommendation. He does not have a deadline in which to do this, but hopes to finish it within five weeks. We don’t get to see this – it is sent straight to the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for a decision.  Mr Katkowski explained that the Secretary might take two months… or two years.  The Inspector said “it will take a long time”.    We will keep you posted!

(link to the morning session of Day 5)

Gladman’s Shear Brook inquiry: day 5 last day. Part 1

The Inspector returned to Cheshire early on Monday and took a walk around Goostrey (his second) looking at the areas which had been discussed. He, with a representative from each party, then had a tour of Jodrell Bank Observatory, hearing how it had developed from Sir Bernard Lovell’s first dreams, before going up the Lovell Telescope and setting foot on the dish.

Day 5 (Tuesday) started with Goostrey resident, Roger Dyke, who had been on holiday last week so unable to speak at the beginning with other residents.  He spoke in two capacities, first as Leader of the Goostrey Footpath Group. Footpath 12, he explained, runs alongside the proposed development site. It has a number of unique features in that at least part of it is fully accessible and it is the only rural footpath which links the two halves of the village. He pointed out that it is used by many Goostrey folk, in particular dog owners, but it is also well known to the Ramblers’ Association and appears in a number of walking books. The proposed development would block the view of the Lovell Telescope and housing would completely destroy the open rural feel.

He then spoke wearing the hat of a retired electronic engineer and licensed radio amateur. Having commended to the inquiry Professor Garrington’s rebuttal to Dr Trotta’s evidence he became the first witness to use visual aids and props.  He held the inquiry’s attention as he explained how houses will leak radio waves as holes are cut into the foil backed plasterboard to insert the wiring for the ring main. When appliances and gadgets are plugged into this the wiring conducts the radio interference out of the house and radiates it to the telescope. Gladmans, having stressed the great age of the average Goostrey resident, had earlier implied that the new development would attract younger residents. Roger took this argument and shot it back at them saying that younger people typically have more gadgets so would create more interference. His demonstration concluded with a dismantled LED bulb. These are great for saving greenhouse gasses, which is why they will be used in any new development, but most are made in the far east under price pressure and emit illegal levels of radio interference.

The second part of the morning was devoted to agreeing conditions which would apply to any development on the site, if permission is granted.  All very necessary but somewhat pedestrian. S106 payments were also covered, everything going through on the nod with the exception of CEC’s request for money for Goostrey Community School and Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School.  CEC’s case was that both these schools are full so they need money to cater for the children who would come from the proposed development. Gladman’s expert responded with the fact that they are only full because people travel from out of the catchment area and, indeed, out of the county to attend these schools.  CEC batted back that this was parent choice etc.  If the appeal fails we will not have to be concerned with such niceties.

However, that afternoon was the long awaited highlight of the inquiry:  the advocates’ closing submissions….(link to Day 5 part two)

(part one of two)

 

 

 

New councillor: note new date 27 May

We see there is a vacancy for a new councillor on Goostrey Parish Council. If you feel that you would be interested click the link below to read the info on the parish council website below and contact the clerk if you wish to apply:

Parish councillor vacancy. [GPC website]

Applications must reach the clerk by 5pm on Friday 27th May 2016.

email: parishcouncil@goostrey.info

Parish Council donate to Scout Hut

Goostrey Parish Council have voted to donate a further £50,000 towards the cost of building the new Scout Hut/Youth Centre.

“The Parish Council appreciates the extraordinary efforts that the scouts have put into raising funds for this community project and is delighted with the success they have had so far.

We also appreciate that Goostrey residents have been the main contributors to the fundraising and that their generosity and support has encouraged the Council to make this further generous donation.  This will both secure the WREN Grant that has been offered to the Scouts and we hope will act as a spur for further donations to complete the project.”  GPC

Would you like to be a parish councillor?

We see there is a vacancy for a new councillor on Goostrey Parish Council. If you feel that you would be interested read the info on the parish council website below and contact the clerk if you wish to apply:

Parish councillor vacancy.

Applications must reach the clerk by 5pm on Friday 27th May 2016.

email: parishcouncil@goostrey.info

Gladman’s Shear Brook inquiry: day four

Day four began with Gladman’s Heritage expert, Jason Clemons, in the firing line as he was cross examined first by Chris Katkowski [CEC’s QC] and then John Hunter [GPC’s barrister].

There were two main themes to this: the heritage value of Grade II listed building Swanwick Hall, this needed to be established before it was possible to decide if the heritage value would be harmed, and whether or not the proposed development would have a significant effect on the setting of the hall.  Jason Clemons maintained that the rear of the houses in Swanwick Close and Sandy Lane already impinged so much that the proposed 119 houses would make little difference to the setting of the hall.  Both advocates disagreed; pointing out that, as you look at the hall, the edge of the village is behind you and does not impinge on the experience, at least not to the same degree as the proposed development would.  The Parish Council also introduced the unlisted heritage Holly Bank Farm, pointing out that its setting would also be affected.

Cllr Ken Morris with barrister John Hunter and Christopher Katkowski QC

Cllr Ken Morris with barrister John Hunter and Christopher Katkowski QC

The Parish Council’s John Hunter enthusiastically explored the differences between four different Heritage reports which had been presented to the inquiry, pointing out a three to one balance in favour of the Parish Council’s position.

The second witness to come forward on day four was Gladman’s planning expert, John Mackenzie. He presented a proof of evidence which showed Goostrey was in dire need of this new development.  He pointed out Goostrey’s ageing population, excellent facilities, good transport links (no, seriously) and ability to help out with Cheshire East’s housing shortage (you must admit, Goostrians are a helpful crowd). Particularly in light of the later he recommended the Inspector approved the appeal.

In cross examination, KitKat (ahem, Mr Christopher Katkowski QC) took the discussion to, amongst other things, Jodrell Bank with a detailed examination of exactly what ‘impair efficiency’ means; this being a key phrase in Policy PS10 which seeks to give protection to JBO.  This was followed by an exploration of how much impairment would be needed to be counted as impairment.  A technical issue, but one which is potentially vital to the case.

Planning Inspector Gareth Jones surrounded by files

Planning Inspector Gareth Jones surrounded by files

There were other detailed discussions regarding technical planning matters, with much quoting of policies and High Court cases.  One can only assume that the full significance will be revealed in Tuesday’s closing statements.

The Parish Council’s case that Goostrey is not a sustainable village was rigorously considered; the basis of their argument being that most future residents will make extensive use of cars for most journeys.  This is of significance since new developments should be located so as to minimise unsustainable travel.

After a quick consideration about the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land the discussion returned to JBO.  This time barrister John Hunter brought up the affect of cumulative damage to the observatory and the risk in an approval of this appeal setting a precedent for future applications.

Today’s inquiry session finally adjourned a little before 6.30pm with much banter about G & Ts.

Still to come:  The Inspector’s site visits (private), 106 discussions and closing statements on Tuesday 24th (public).   (link to Day 5 morning)