Posted by: swinemoor | April 25, 2014

The Cycle Lane Saga Continues

The latest deadline for submitting comments on the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s (ERYC) proposals to put in a cycle lane along the B1230 has now passed but the good news is, if you have not already done so, you will have another chance to object as the latest deadline is the 15th May.

To update you, the ERYC are, in the face of opposition from a number of organisations including the Civic Society, maintaining they followed the rules in making this application, however, as time moves on it is becoming increasingly clear that they have not done so. For example, the ERYC continually insist that they have posted notices of their intention to swap land along the B1230 for land at Longcroft School at all the entrances to the common (a legal requirement), however, this is not true. Figure 1 is a picture of the chained entrance to Hurn Common taken in March. This clearly shows there is no notice displayed at this point (although there was at Norfolk Street and Gallows Lane) yet the ERYC continually maintain that there was.

Longcroft Entrance to Hurn

Figure 1: Inviting entrance to Hurn Common from Longcroft School: notice lack of ERYC notice detailing land swap proposals.

In a slight of hand worthy of Colonel Gaddaffi, the ERYC have also written to objectors to their proposals who made the point that they were not published on the ERYC’s Planning Portal. In these letters they have the temerity to say that they decided not to upload them because the documents were too large! In other words, it was too much effort to be bothered to tell the people of Beverley what they were up to. The level of arrogance in the responses received from the council is astonishing and is not healthy in a democracy.

For those of you who think that a cycle lane is a good idea, think again. The game here is not the creation of a cycle lane for the protection of local residents. If this were the case, the ERYC would be constructing one between Beverley and Bishop Burton: home to a college that is a significant local employer and has over 2,000 students. Ironically here there is enough space within the existing highway footprint so there would be no need for a land swap! The fact that they are not doing this is instructive and, as readers of this blog have suggested, has more to do with the setting of a precedent than public safety, i.e. if they can get the principle of a land swap past the Planning Inspectorate then the door is open for future land swaps on Hurn and Westwood. These could be proposed by developers and supported by the ERYC and might involve the loss of land on the Beverley side with a corresponding increase in common area in Walkington and Bishop Burton parishes.

Is this what we in Beverley want: yet more development on green field sites, threatening the setting of the town and the character of the town, which is being lost before our eyes? If you do not want this to happen, you must support the Civic Society and others and object to this cynical proposal by writing to the Defra Planning Inspectorate at: commonlandcasework@pins.gsi.gov.uk quoting reference COM544. Alternatively you can write to the Case Officer at:

The Planning Inspectorate, Common Lands Casework Team,Zone 3/25, temple Quay House, Bristol BS1 6PN

 

Once again, our commons are under threat from OUR council. Help save them by objecting to the ERYC’s proposals and tell your local councillor why you are doing so.


Responses

  1. I wonder if the ERYC officers would be prepared to host a meeting at which recipients of these selective responses could receive explanations as to lack of consistency in their explanations?

    • It’s a thought but, in view of the fact they have been so secretive so far, it is unlikely. Openness is an alien concept to them I’m afraid.

  2. Dear Mr Neal

    I thank you for your e-mail dated 16th June 2014 and note your comments.

    I apologise for the time it has taken to reply to your e-mail but please be assured that I have passed your e-mail to The Planning Inspectorate for their attention.

    I can confirm that the East Riding of Yorkshire Council has carried out its consultation exercise in accordance with Planning Inspectorate guidelines, however, I apologise that the application was not placed on the Council’s website for inspection, this will be reviewed for future similar matters.

    2. Objectors have been written to after receiving a request from the Pasture Masters for the removal of the hedgerow at the boundary with Longcroft School, the Planning Inspectorates permission to do so was
    sought before contact was made. The reason for the contact was to ask for objectors thoughts on the requirements of the Pasture Masters.

    3. The Commons Act 2006 stipulates that if the land to be de-registered is over 200 square meters the offer of replacement land should be considered.

    4. The Planning Committee is a committee of councillors that sit to determine planning applications, advice is usually given to the committee by planning officers but it is the committee who make the decision as to
    whether an application should be approved or refused.

    5. No decision in respect of making an application for the removal of the hedgerow has been made at this stage and the comments of local residents will be considered.

    6. Evidence shows that there is support for the proposed cycle path.

    7. The appropriate permission has been obtained for the removal of a small area of playing field at Longcroft School under the School Standards Framework Act 1998.

    8. I would like to take this opportunity to advise you that although the East Riding of Yorkshire Council is the freehold owner of the land which forms the Westwood Common the land is registered as a common and
    therefore is protected by the Secretary of State. There can be no development on common land without the Secretary of States approval. Approval given by the Secretary of State to one proposal does not set a
    precedent for future proposals.

    Regards

    Steve Parker
    Legal Officer
    Legal Services
    East Riding of Yorkshire Council
    01482 393159

    From: Jim Neal
    To: “steve.parker@eastriding.gov.uk” ,
    Cc: “Christine.Griffee@pins.gsi.gov.uk”
    Date: 16/06/2014 10:29
    Subject: cycle lane along the B1230 Keldgate Road Beverley

    Jim Neal
    Tegfan
    3 Penbryn View
    Penrhyndeudraeth
    Gwynedd LL48 6PL

    01766 770541
    Mobile 07964 535488
    jimhneal@hotmail.com

    16th June 2014
    Dear Mr Parker,

    Application to Deregister and Exchange Land at Beverley Westwood – Com544

    I would like to register my objection to the proposed land swap at Longcroft School for the following reasons:

    1. The East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s (ERYC) consultation exercise was totally inadequate: the lack of availability of maps, lack of appropriate notices and the decision by ERYC not to place any documentation on their website is an example of this;
    2. ERYC has acted irregularly in writing to objectors, after the closing date for comments to the Planning Inspectorate’s (IPENS) Common Land Team;
    3. ERYC are applying to remove a hedgerow without waiting for a decision on whether their proposed land swap is legal, i.e. they are attempting to create a fait-accompli;
    4. The proposal for ERYC to apply to ERYC in order to remove an ‘Important Hedgerow’ is costing Council Tax payer’s a lot of money and makes a mockery of our legal system and local democracy in the East Riding;
    5. Sacrificing an ancient hedgerow and trees to win a battle over an additional 50cm of width on a cycle path is clearly disproportionate to the original intention;
    6. It is a complete waste of public money;
    7. It is reducing the area of the school’s playing fields;
    8. It will set a dangerous precedent for the future in relation to Beverley’s common lands.

    It is unacceptable that a public body should act in a way that is secretive and deny people the opportunity to comment on proposals via the appropriate route, i.e. through IPENS. If ERYC are convinced of the strength of their case, they need to state it openly and publicly, rather than using secrecy and legal trickery to get their way.

    If ERYC wish to pursue this plan, they must begin the consultation process again right from the beginning, this time engaging in the process correctly and not seeing it merely as a nuisance. When making a decision on whether to begin the application process afresh, a full cost-benefit analysis of the scheme needs to be undertaken to determine whether public money could be better spent on cycle routes elsewhere in the area, such as between Beverley and Cottingham where the condition of the current cycle route is a disgrace. After all, Michael Elliott in determining a similar application by ERYC in 2012 stated that the council had not demonstrated a need on the B1230.

    I feel strongly about this as I was born and grew up in Beverley. In my childhood I enjoyed the unspoilt natural beauty of the Westwood, including observing the wildlife in the ancient hedgerows.

    Yours sincerely

    Jim Neal
    Steve Parker
    Legal Officer
    East Riding of Yorkshire Council
    County Hall
    BEVERLEY
    HU17 9BA

    • Thanks Jim,

      The response you have received appears in line with others and equally patronising. Sadly ERYC believe that they are acting in ‘our’ best interest but don’t believe we know what’s best for ourselves so keeping us uninformed is their usual policy.

  3. […] who would need to agree the land swap, decided that a public enquiry was required. At this point ERYC began contacting objectors to their plans by phone and email in an attempt to get them to withdraw their objections to the […]


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