Tuesday 17th February was the day for the elected Councillors to reaffirm their original decision. We are pleased to say that they did that in spades and made it clear that they are firmly against unconventional drilling anywhere in Shropshire. That was a sensible and well-informed position given that the next round of drilling licences has been prepared and is waiting to be announced. We might be proven wrong, but the cynical view would say that the Government don’t want to make the announcement just before an election. Once the whole of Shropshire sees this as a threat that applies to them, it becomes a very relevant issue to a lot of people.
With regards the local appeal, we have been pushing for the council planning department to promise to forward all of the original planning objections to the Inspectorate because if they don’t then the inspectorate won’t read them. At Tuesday’s meeting it was said that the objections have been forwarded, however, we have no proof as yet despite asking repeatedly.
We do now know that the planning department have acquiesced to Dart’s request that this appeal be handled by written representations. This is contrary to our request that it be handled with public engagement. The Government’s own guidelines indicate that planning appeals must be heard at a hearing or an inquiry if there has been significant local engagement because local people deserve the right to be involved.
The fact that the 500 objections were personally written rather than just copies of a template is hugely important, plus of course there has been extensive newspaper coverage thanks to our excellent independently owned local newspapers. We have been on BBC Radio Shropshire three times and featured in a half page Guardian article. It will be hard to argue that this has been uncontroversial!
We are appealing to the inspectorate to change their mind on this and have good reason to be optimistic that they will. If they do then there is an opportunity for our group to be formally recognised within the process, as well as there being a public meeting as part of the decision making process.
So, would you mind writing to the Appeals Planning Inspector at Bristol?
It doesn’t matter if you repeat your previous statement because this is all about having the decision being made by a fresh and independent person. As before we will be making formal submissions that seek to capture all points in planning language so finding the exact words is not crucial. You might wish to add in some indication of how significant this issue has been locally because it will all help with our efforts to get the appeal upgraded.
Here is a quick run through how to use the Inspectorate portal:
The link to the appeal is here: https://acp.planningportal.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?Caseid=3002435&CoID=0
Click on the above link to find the appeal.
To comment on the case you first need to register. Click on ‘register’ near the top of that first page.
Enter your details and press the ’Next’ button. The next screen will then ask you to create a new account. Again, enter your details and then use the ‘Create User’ button.
An email will then be sent for you to verify. Once this is done and you have your username and password, log in.
You will see a ‘Search for a Case’ box where you can enter the reference 3002435 and reach the appeal summary page.
This time you will see a ‘Make representation’ button. This button takes you to a new screen. In the ’Sections’ box at the top right hand side of the page, use the drop down menu to select ‘Your Details’. This shows a page for ‘Your Details’.
Tick ‘Interested Party’ then press the ‘Save and Continue’ button.
You will then see the representation page. Tick ‘No’ for acting on behalf of a group or company. You can tick to enter your comments / objections here in the space provided or scroll down to tick attach a separate document, or both, whichever you choose. Please start you comments with the words: Appeal reference 15/02213/NONDET OBJECTION.
You can then type in your new objection, or copy in your previous objection if you still have it and add more on if you want. You can save at any time on the portal but once you have finished, use the drop down menu in the ‘Sections’ box and select ‘Submit’.For those who prefer to send a letter in, remember to use the appeal reference then send three copies to 3/10b Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol. BS1 6PN.
The deadline for making your opinion known is 12th March, however the sooner the better!
If you have any questions please do contact us.Thank you once again because without your help, this campaign would not have achieved as much as it has.