THE PROPOSED crematorium and cemetery at Catfoot Lane Lambley has run into trouble with the announcement by Gedling Borough Council that it will not ratify last week’s planning committee decision.
This latest twist is in response to a move by opposition group CCOG to seek intervention from the National Planning Control Unit (NCPU) over alleged procedural errors in the planning process. CCOG has encouraged opponents of the plan to lobby NCPU, and has produced pro-forma letters which can be used to outline the issues.
Copies of those letters were distributed to some homes in the area [I never got one –Ed] and made available in various forms here on dumbles.co.uk.
CCOG now says that personalised letters would be more effective than pro-formas, and is inviting residents to make their own intervention.
Nevertheless the volume of letters already received appears to have had the desired effect. The case officer at NPCU has spoken to Gedling Borough Council, which has agreed to not ratify the planning committee decision until the unit has looked into the matter. The NPCU has the power to ‘call in’ a decision if it believes there are sufficient grounds, which would effectively take the decision on the crematorium and cemetery out of the hands of Gedling Borough Council.
NCPU has set a target date of 30 May 2013 for its decision.
CCOG is now asking residents to write to the NPCU by post (National Planning Control Unit, 5 St Philips Place, Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2PW) or email (email@example.com) making whichever points they feel are relevant. It says these may include:
- That the impact and harm to the green belt was not fully considered, or given due attention, before the council decided that it was justified to approve an application in the green belt.
- That the ‘very special circumstances’ cited by both applicants, and accepted by the planning committee, is not proven from the statistics produced.
- That the alternative sites search was flawed in that only areas of a similar large size to the schemes was considered, yet the Westerleigh application was considerably reduced in size during the course of the application process. The site search should therefore have been re-visited.
- That the highways department at Nottinghamshire County Council was negligent in expressing no concerns when consulted over traffic issues and road layout. CCOG says Local residents and both Lambley Parish Council and Woodborough Parish Council have expressed serious concerns over traffic in the area for a number of years. The junction of Catfoot Lane and Mapperley Plains is busy and dangerous, with a blind spot, and this cannot be addressed by either application. The extra vehicle and pedestrian traffic generated will make the situation worse and lead to accidents, CCOG says. The highways department’s report is therefore not reflective of the real situation which exists.
- That Gedling Borough Council provided a forum for both applicants to address planning committee members, which they called a ‘technical briefing’. This meeting was initially closed, and made public only at the last minute after being leaked. Members of the public who did attend were not permitted to speak. Westerleigh was stopped twice, and Lymn once, during proceedings as they were reverting to a sales pitch and presenting non-technical information, which is against Gedling Borough Council’s own protocols.
In a further, unrelated, development, underground groups Anonymous and Occupy have stated that they plan a protest against development on Catfoot Lane. Few details have yet been released, but will be reported here when available.