As most people will have read, SODC's Planning committee decisively rejected the Gladman plan for 245 houses at its meeting on 6 September, 2017. Excellent presentations from CAGE campaigners helped convince local councillors to reject their own officer's recommendation that the plan be approved.
Over 120 angry members of the public turned up to protest, taking the special buses hired by CAGE. There were full reports on local television and elsewhere. Subsequently, and as expected, Gladman Developments appealed against the refusal to the Planning Inspectorate. A Public Inquiry will be held from 1 May, 2018 at Henley Rugby Club.
Free parking will be available. CAGE would have preferred a more local venue, but is satisfied that one could not be found that meets the full requirements.
What happens at the Inquiry?
The full procedure is set out here. SODC and Gladman will come to the inquiry having shared their evidence, and having agreed on common ground. This is to ensure the inquiry runs efficiently. Other groups have the option to register as a 'Rule 6' party, which means they have full rights to present evidence, call expert witnesses and to engage in cross-examination. Reading Borough Council has chosen not to do this but will speak at the Inquiry.
They have already submitted evidence which makes clear their opposition to the scheme in very strong terms. We hope that SODC will now fully support those objections as well putting forward its own concerns at the Inquiry.
Rule 6 participation is a complex and demanding process, requiring considerable funding, particularly if a barrister is to be hired to present the case. Given the tiny size of Eye & Dunsden parish (just 140 houses), CAGE has committed to 'Interested Party' status which means we can present our evidence by delivering presentations at the Inquiry in May. We will still need considerable funding to pay for expert evidence and a massive crowd-funding appeal is about to be launched.
How and why will CAGE be represented?
CAGE is working with landscape, planning and transport experts to present the best possible case to the Inquiry. We have already identified a number of important deficiencies in the Gladman case. We feel we need to do this because SODC will be limiting itself to the very narrow reasons for refusal cited in their decision notice.
Look out for further news on this site as events develop.