Goldhawk Industrial Estate to developers, which was called in by the Government before the election, has been going a week with barristers trading arguments about the rights and wrongs of the decision.
The developers have of course provided a barrister to put their case, and the Council also have legal representation which of course is funded by our taxes. The actual taxpayers, meanwhile, have to not only fund the Council's case for them through their taxes but they then have to fund raise for their own legal representation. They've done an amazing job paying for a barrister with sales of marmalade (marmalade!) and with help from other sections of the local community, including a benefit concert put on by a local orchestra
Speaking at this summit the then Council leader Stephen Greenhalgh commented that there were "lessons to be learned" from the debacle - as well he might given the summit was chaired by local BBC presenter John Humphrys who'se own submission against the development had been publicly dismissd as "misinformed" by the Council as they brushed all opposition to one side in scenes reminiscent of a trial in 1930's Russia.
Leading the Brackenbury Residents Association is the indomitable Rosemary Petit, who shares this update in her weekly newsletter to fellow residential rebels:
The planning inquiry into the future of the Goldhawk Industrial Estate continues tomorrow, starting 9.30am in the Council Chamber at the Town Hall. We will be hearing evidence from Dr Anthony Lee of BNP Paribas for the applicant (London and Newcastle) on viability and affordable housing, and later from Peter Hibbert of Affordable Housing Solutions for BRA. Mr Hibbert has been assisted by Robert Barr of local estate agents Kerr Residential in Goldhawk Road, and by Martin Hayes, surveyor of Dunphy and Hayes, also in Goldhawk Road. Richard Keat, quantity surveyor, has assisted with costings.
The inquiry will continue into Wednesday of this week, and resume again next week. On Monday, 7 June, and Tuesday, 8 June we will hear evidence from Alan Simmonds, planning consultant of DP9 (for the applicant) and from Robert Jaffe-Pearce (resident) on traffic and parking, including surveys and counts; we will also hear from David Pearson, architect of Dalling Road, and from Andy Slaughter MP as an independent witness. The Inquiry is expected to conclude on one further day - 14 June.
BRA's barrister is Richard Turney of Landmark Chambers, the applicant's is Russell Harris QC, also from Landmark Chambers, and Andy Beresford is the Council's solicitor. Architect Olivia Spencer sits as Inspector.
All welcome. To reach the Council Chamber turn right at reception, continue until you can go no further, take the lift or stairs to the second floor, turn right into the Mayor's Foyer, left into Anteroom 1 and the right door leads to the Council Chamber - there are plenty of seats. As Richard Winterton, BRA's architect said, 'This is far more demanding and far more interesting than I would have thought possible.'
Good luck Rosemary.