Posted by: swinemoor | April 25, 2010

Choice of Site and Sequential Test

A lot of misinformation about the choosing of the site on Swinemoor Lane has been doing the rounds, therefore, it is probably about time that an attempt was made to clear this up.

Notwithstanding the rumours that had been going around since November 2008, regarding the choice of site being Swinemoor Lane, this was not finally announced until January 2009 and planning permission was not applied for until July 2009. In June 2009 there were a series of public meetings at which time the public was told that this was the preferred site for the hospital on a number of grounds, the main one given being economic.

At the time of the planning application a document in the form of a site matrix was produced justifying this, however, as pointed out at the pre-planning meeting on 14th September 2009, this document, known as the Sequential Test,  is questionable in terms of its timing  and contains a number of factual inaccuracies.

The Sequential Test was produced by GVA Grimley on 19th July 2009, some six months AFTER the choice of site had been announced by the PCT! This is rather like coming to a verdict and then making the evidence fit afterwards.

In view of this, there was obviously a need in the Sequential Test (ST) to portray the site at Swinemoor Lane in the most favourable light possible. For instance, whilst acknowledging that the site was in Flood Risk Zone 3 (the highest flood risk), the ST states  that The site did not, however, flood during recent flooding [actually it did in June 2007]. In the Planning Policy Allocation section of the ST it says Policy E2 – outside development limits – open countryside whilst then claiming that the adjacent Common Land is protected from development meaning that the hospital will always have an attractive open aspect…..  This presumably is the same ‘open aspect’ currently being enjoyed by the most deprived area of Beverley  the residents of which will be deprived of in future if the hospital goes ahead on this site.

Now for what the ST does not say about the chosen site:


In the East Riding of Yorkshire Landscape Character Assessment (2005), the area (including the proposed hospital site) is included in Area 6 of the document. This states this area is assessed to be a high quality landscape. It is, therefore,  protected by Local Plan Policy E10. Paradoxically in the ST this same policy was given as reason against the choice of the land adjacent to the ambulance station! The Swinemoor site is also covered by policies E2 (as mentioned in the ST), E3, E8, E9, E14, E18, E35.

Flood Risk

In the ST the land adjacent to the ambulance station was defined as Zone 3 – High Risk & Zone 1 Low Risk. Most of the site is in Zone 1 and is at a higher elevation than the site at Swinemoor Lane. Really it should have said that the site was in Zone 1 with a small section (easily avoidable) in Zone 3. It did not. In addition, the construction of important infrastructure projects, such as ambulance stations, is prohibited in Zone 3, therefore, the presence of the ambulance station adjacent to the the Driffield Road site should have raised some eyebrows with regard to it being in flood risk Zone 3.

All the sites in the matrix are compared to the preferred site (Swinemoor Lane) under a number of criteria and given a rating of √, x or = depending on whether in GVA Grimley’s(?) opinion they are better or worse than this site. If the Driffield Road had been classified correctly, then one ‘x’ in the ST would have been replaced with an = sign, meaning it would , at the very least,  have scored higher the the same in the matrix than as the site on Swinemoor Lane and, therefore, should have been consideredcould not have been so easily discounted.

The timing of the production of this document is revealing as it was produced six months after the PCT had announced an option to purchase the site saying that Ecology surveys and reports have been done as part of the site assessment process. These reports have never been produced.

The land adjacent to the ambulance station should have been considered more seriously and, in the ST, it says in relation to this land the site could be made available at an affordable price to the NHS Trust for the proposed use, subject to gaining planning consent. Yet, at the meeting in Samman Road on 19th June 2009, Karen Knapton (Chairman of the NHS East Riding of Yorkshire) said that this was the only site being considered as it was the only affordable site. This does not gel with the information in the ST. The latter view bas backed up by Melanie Iredale (Programme Director for Community Services Strategy) on 30th November 2009 when she said that the PCT’s initial preferred site was that adjacent to the ambulance station on Driffield Road but the PCT were told by someone in ERYC  that planning permission would not be granted on this site. They were then directed to the site on Swinemoor Road by someone in the ERYC.

The ST was instrumental in heading-off a likely objection from the Environment Agency on the grounds that a hospital should not be built on flood risk Zone 3 land if a better site was available. In this regard it could be said that it achieved its purpose. However, the deficiencies in this document were raised before the ERYC Planning Committee on 14th September 2009. They chose to ignore this and, in the words of one speaker on the day, chose to condemn the residents of Beverley to a sub-standard, flooded hospital

For the record, those ERYC councillors who voted in favour of a hospital in flood Zone 3 are:

Abraham,Con. Bird. Lib. C. Chadwick, Con. M. Chadwick, Con. Chapman, Con. Hunter, Con. Lynn, Lib. Mathieson, Con. Moore, Lab. Pollard, Con. Robinson, Con. Tress, Lib.

Those against:

Bayram, Con. Pearson, Con. Whittle Ind.

If this hospital is built and then floods, please remember who it was who voted for it when you visit the ballot box.

If you want to look at flooding, click on this link and zoom in on Beverley. As long as you don’t zoom in too close, you can see what parts of the town get flooded at what rise in water levels. This is instructive as the flood mitigation measures now being implemented on the Swinemoor Lane site are costing a large amount of money – money that could have been saved for patient care if the hospital were built on the site next to the ambulance station, where flooding is not an issue.

The Sequential Test is covered by Copyright and, therefore, cannot be published on this site. If you would like to read it, you must do so via ERYC’s Public Access portal here, then search for the planning application under the reference: 09/02646/STOUT.


  1. […] the public over a shortlist of possible sites, as this is the only viable option. Swinemoor Lane ticked all the boxes for factors such as cost and ease of access and it is large enough to provide some flexibility for […]

  2. […] Exception Test As previously mentioned in this blog, the Sequential Test used to justify the choice of site as Swinemoor Lane contained errors: this is […]

  3. […] is this important? Well, as mentioned previously, the Sequential Test was not produced by GVA Grimley (not the ERYC) until the 19th July 2009 and […]

  4. […] wildlife and other surveys, design and redesign buildings, carry out flood risk assessments, sequential and exception tests and design flood alleviation measures. If the PCT’s original […]

  5. […] has the PCT continually stated this was the only suitable, available and affordable site? Clearly this was not the […]

  6. […] Planning Authority. However, in view of the lessons learned from the way that ERYC behaved over the Swinemoor ‘Hospital’ fiasco, we know we cannot rely on the LPA implementing the guidance correctly. Therefore, it is for the […]

  7. […] way through the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s (ERYC) procedures – let’s hope this one has not already been decided behind closed doors and that, for once, the ERYC will listen to the people of Beverley and, at the very least, defer […]

  8. […] end justifies the means’. As a result we, the public, are left to pick up the bill for the construction of a sub-standard hospital on flood-prone land, the loss of street trees, the building of a new bypass nobody wants and the piece by piece damage […]

  9. Αwesome post.

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  10. […] in advance of the local elections next year, jumping on the bandwagon so to speak.  In the past this blog has praised Councillor Pearson for standing up for what is right, this time however, we are more cynical as it is the party that Mr Pearson is a member of that […]

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    • Thanks ME! Still waiting on news re the Westwood Hospital planning application: things have gone very quiet indeed and we don’t know whether this is good or bad.
      Sadly we are hearing worrying news regarding the land swap proposals on Hurn common and will comment in depth on this over the weekend once we find out exactly what is going on.
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  14. […] Landscape’ of Swinemoor for dubious reasons that had less to do with patient need and more to do with grubby local politics. If IPENS agree to the land swap, ERYC will have set a legal precedent whereby land in one part of […]

  15. […] the then Primary Care Trust (PCT) to apply to build a new cottage hospital on greenfield, flood-prone land on Swinemoor Lane. Mr Pearson is well aware that they were serious irregularities in the way that this application […]

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