The last few months have seen lots of activity behind the scenes. We've been very busy challenging various aspects of the planning application and the true nature of this proposal is becoming clearer to all involved.
Noise consultants working for the Council have formally concluded that the noise impact will be "significant". This affects the application in two ways. Firstly, McCann will now have to address the discrepancies between their claims about noise and the evidence of the Council's experts. Secondly, the Council will need to review its screening of the application for environmental impact because this was based on false information. For this reason, the Secretary of State deferred giving a formal Direction to allow the Council re-think its opinion. We await the revised screening opinion with interest.
There are a few other loose ends which should come together in the coming weeks. Now that council officers have visited the existing site and seen with their own eyes what happens, they have raised several questions of McCann about their noise claims. In addition, they have asked McCann to revise its plan to illuminate the site like a football stadium and also to consider the impact on the Welney swans. We await McCann's response to these issues with interest.
In addition, we are aware that one resident has complained formally to the Chief Executive of the Council about the behind-the-scenes activities of one of the council's Economic Development officers who has been lobbying council officers and councillors to approve the application. McCann has even tried to get this officer to attend meetings on planning matters. The response from the Chief Exec. is awaited and, if unsatisfactory, the complaint will be escalated to the Local Government Ombudsman.
Finally, we know that number of residents have been asking one councillor to declare the nature of his interest in this planning application. This councillor, who sits on the planning committee, declared an interest in the planning application after he had he voted to approve it (but not before) and has refused to respond to requests from residents to declare the nature of that interest. We think the residents have a right to know and will not let go until we have the answer.
It's all happening! Watch this space...