Gladman’s Shear Brook Inquiry: day three

Goostrey parish councillor Dr Ken Morris might have felt apprehensive this morning before he was ‘cross examined’ by Gladman’s QC Richard Kimblin (smooth as silk but sharp as a knife) but had clearly researched his subject well.  Mr Kimblin put forward the case that there is a housing need in Goostrey but sadly had no figures for this (sadly as in fact precise housing numbers would actually help the Neighbourhood Plan team!).

Barrister John Harding, QC Christopher Katkowski, cllr Dr Ken Morris and Inspector Gareth Jones
Barrister John Harding, QC Christopher Katkowski, cllr Dr Ken Morris and Inspector Gareth Jones

On highways Ken was able to point out that the ‘Crash map” used was not up to date, and even with developer money there would still be an issue with a bus service. Ken was asked to confirm that Goostrey is a sustainable village; he responded that this was “not correct” as it is predominantly car based so not sustainable – which gives a “reason to refuse” planning permission.

Next it was Dr Roberto Trotta’s turn to give evidence for Gladman. (I hope you don’t mind if I skip most of the science – best I leave that to the experts. Here is an amateur’s view, apologies in advance.)

Dr Roberto Trotta with Richard Kimblin QC
Dr Roberto Trotta with Richard Kimblin QC

Astro statistician Dr Trotta pointed out that his submission was similar to Professor Garrington’s – a radio astronomer of long standing don’t forget – but fundamentally different. Prof Garrington’s numbers include the surrounding terrain using a height of 3m but Dr Trotta believed his method was “better” as the wider terrain was not crucial and he estimated devices would be used on different storeys in homes. Their mitigation factors differed and, where Prof Garrington uses the internationally recognised ITU Threshold, it was Dr Trotta’s view that it was “not useful”.  Dr Trotta put forward a “more robust” benchmark of 3.5%. [to make more sense of all that you would have to read their submissions: 14/5579C ]

Cheshire East’s QC Christopher Katkowski took Dr Trotta through his evidence. Dr Trotta agreed with statements in a letter from the Royal Astronomical Society that JBO was internationally important and protecting it from harm was “globally significant”.  Dr Trotta is in fact a Fellow of the RAS (one of 4000) and the President’s letter strongly supported JBO stating “serious concern” of the threat from increased interference from the proposed development and the President urges to reject.

An element of humour crept in when it was suggested that one way of reducing all unwanted emissions would be to remove Goostrey houses but luckily it was accepted that this was not “practicable”.  Dr Trotta agreed that, whilst there may already be “currently lots of exceedences” of the international threshold [of interference] in Goostrey of “considerable margin, the new development would make things worse”.

Mr Katkowski pointed out that CRAF (the Committee on Radio Astronomy Frequencies) had endorsed that Prof Garrington’s methodology and modelling had been carried out in a “truly exemplary manner”.  On the other hand Dr Trotta’s proof of evidence had not been put out for review.

It must be said that Dr Trotta was at pains to point out that he was not “advocating a position” (he was not for or against the housing development) but was “providing facts” on levels of interference and the decision would be a “matter of judgement”.

Mr Katkowski asked Dr Trotta if he was aware of the expression “death by a thousand cuts” referring to the “incremental damage of each case”.  He was not, but we mustn’t hold that against him.

I’d say it was a good day.              (link to Day 4)

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  1. Reply

    Well done everybody. Sounds like it’s ‘game over’ for Gladman and other predatory developers circulating the village! ! We just need Cheshire East to step up to the mark now and not propose anything ‘daft’, like sayng we now need another 150 houses, during the preparation of the neighbourhood plan!!

  2. Reply

    It’s not over yet! There is still Day Four to come today. The appellant’s (Gladman) heritage matters and then planning policy. The Inspector will make a site visit next week and join the legal teams for an accompanied tour of JBO; they might even get to see the view of the site from the dish. Then? Then the Inspector makes a recommendation and we will have to wait several months for a final decision from Dept of Communities, Secretary of State Greg Clark.

  3. Reply

    Was the attention of Kimblin drawn to recent planning applications in the so called “service centre” of Goostrey, Cranage, Swettenham and Twemlow?
    16/0731C , 15/4313C, 16/2005C, 16/0604C, 16/0459C, 15/3137C. Over 40 in this lot.
    Together with the chicken farm, Harrison Drive / New Platt, grain store, main road and other single plots surely the requirements, if I recall correctly, for our area have been met or exceeded already?
    I thought the latest, albeit outdated, local plan had said there was no need for houses in this “service centre”.

    • Reply

      The Inspector was made aware at the beginning [by the public] that the draft Local Plan states “it is anticipated that development needs will largely be provided for in Holmes Chapel” and that Goostrey village is not Goostrey LSC. But there is not a clause that there is ‘no need’ for houses in Goostrey LSC. Goostrey will have to grow, but one would not expect that to be at the expense of the internationally significant work at JBO.

  4. Reply

    No true. But the arguments against this development (and other large developments in the village) are overwhelming !

  5. Reply

    As I understand Cheshire East have had to raise their housing requirements in the revised Local Plan with more distribution of housing to the North of the borough. Local Service Centres ( such as Goostrey as currently defined), are required to take a proportion of this new increased housing allocation, which will be set by Cheshire East. However, developers treat this allocation as ‘the minimum required’, with no cap on the upper limit. The Neighbourhood plan can’t block this allocation, or set limits on the maximum number of houses, but can influence where this housing will go and the design criteria which should be met. However if it is deemed that Cheshire East don’t have a ‘5 year housing supply’, (which they don’t at the moment) then the policies in the Local Plan (and supporting Neighbourhood plans) are deemed out of date, and any site is then ‘fair game’ for the developers for further development. They only have to demonstrate that the site is ‘sustainable’ in accordance with the NPFF (National Planning Policy Framework) !!

    With the evidence now available from Jodrell Bank from the Shearbrook appeal, this highlights by far the biggest risk to their research is development in Goostrey, and hence further ‘sustainable’ development in Goostrey is very unlikely to be met in accordance with the NPPF !! Therefore Cheshire East will need to take this into account when allocating further housing to Goostrey, and our Neighbourhood plan team will need to work closely with Jodrell Bank to agree suitable sites (if any are actually required of course).

    Should Cheshire East fail to obtain a ‘ 5 year housing supply’ and/or get the Local plan ratified, then either further legislation is required to protect Jodrell Bank from such speculative development , or Jodrell Bank will be fighting alot more appeals, such as this one, in the not too distant future.

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