• Mary Breakell

7 August 2018 Newsbrief 32 CLOUD General Meeting

The next CLOUD General Meeting will be held on Thursday 30th August 2018 at 7.30pm in the Cobblers’ Suite at the Boot & Shoe Inn, Scotforth.  We invite and encourage all CLOUD members to attend.

This purpose of this meeting will be to determine CLOUD’s approach to the planning inquiry into Lancaster city council’s local plan.  We expect this inquiry to take place in October or November this year, but are awaiting advice as to the exact date, the venue, how the planning inspector will conduct the inquiry etc.  We hope to receive information on these points in the next few weeks. The planning inquiry will be held in public.

At our last CLOUD general meeting on 20th March, we agreed to raise funds (target £2000) to pay for an expert to challenge the local plan house-building targets at the planning inquiry.   Our expert’s report (now close to being finalised) confirms that there are solid grounds for such a challenge, which would be aimed at one of the key elements on which the local plan is based.   

As we’ve reported in a previous CLOUD Newsbrief, Inspector Richard McCoy, Bsc MSc Dip TP MRTPI IHBC, has been appointed as planning inspector for the local plan inquiry.   We understand that it is normal practice for planning inspectors to begin preparing for inquiries some 6 to 8 weeks beforehand, so we may hear from the inspector during August.

This planning inquiry is crucial for CLOUD’s campaign against unnecessary developments in general and Bailrigg garden village in particular.  The planning inspector is independent of Lancaster city council and an expert in planning matters. CLOUD members may feel that we have been attending council drop-in sessions and writing letters of objection for a long time.  However the game is definitely not over until the inspector has decided whether or not to approve the local plan. Nor is it the case that our campaigning to date has been in vain - the objections which CLOUD members (and others) you submitted on the Local Plan are going to be addressed in the planning inquiry.  If you’re bewildered by the number of drop-in sessions which have taken place and can’t work out how the Area Action Plan for Bailrigg garden village fits in with the Local Plan, come along to the meeting and we’ll try to clarify matters!

We can also be encouraged by reports from other garden villages.  In particular the campaign group CAUSE managed to persuade their planning inspector to turn down plans by a group of Essex local authorities for three (!!) garden villages.

It’s important that we prepare carefully for the planning inquiry and can demonstrate that we have the support of local citizens -  so please note the meeting date in your diary now and come along on Thursday 30th August. If you know anyone who supports our cause against unnecessary housing developments in Lancaster, please encourage them to join CLOUD.  Full details on how to do this are on our website and membership forms will also be available at the meeting. CLOUD membership is free - the funds to support our campaign all come from voluntary donations from members and supporters.

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