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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Public Inquiry restrictions ignored amidst allegations of misconduct


Coach and horses driven through policyIn what would appear to be a blatant transgression from the restrictions, placed by the planning inspector on behalf of the secretary of state, preventing any work to be conducted on any sites included within the Destination Kirkby planning application, Knowsley’s planning committee has approved the application by Tesco Stores Ltd to conduct essential work to reroute the brook that runs alongside the site in Valley Rd; a site which has mysteriously seen the vast majority of its trees removed already.

Notwithstanding the unrest this latest tactic has caused, allegations have been made that Knowsley has deliberately attempted to mislead the Government Office North West. Knowsley Council strenuously deny this to be the case.

Knowsley claimed that they had approval from the GONW to determine the application after informing them that the work was relatively minor. It transpires that under Knowsley's own method of classification the proposed work, over a 350m stretch costing £750,000, is determined as major, not minor.

KEIOC has learnt that a spokesperson for the GONW has stated, “On 26th February, Knowsley Borough Council sought GONW's advice as to whether an application, 'for relatively minor works on part of the site connected with the diversion of Kirkby Brook', constituted development of the same kind as that which was the subject of an Article 14 Direction by the Secretary of State, namely, planning application 08/00001/HYB, the mixed use development within the town centre. If it did, then in the terms of the Article 14 Direction, the Council would be unable to grant planning permission. That query was accompanied by a site location plan, which showed a different configuration of the existing brook but encompassing parts of the existing waterway.”

Furthermore Knowsley, in asking for approval from the GONW, failed to provide a detailed schedule of works relying simply on a site location plan.

Despite receiving over 340 objections and fully aware that the work was actually classified as major the councils planning committee approved the application.

Understandably there is growing concern, within Knowsley and Everton, that the emergent realization that this scheme is not all that it seemed. Unfortunately the factions wanting to release themselves of further involvement, particularly at Everton, would appear to be impotent due to draconian clauses found within the exclusivity agreement that the public inquiry was refused access to.

We think this is definitely a case of “watch this space”

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