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Hills Thermal Treatmet Plant

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The TTP (incinerator) is back on the agenda again, any thoughts?

Whatever objectors say this time, the Strategic Planning Committee at County Hall will no doubt be given clear advice on the exact legal position before the meeting to ensure they properly understand that almost everything the objectors say is actually wrong or not relevant in law.

Last time, I received endless emails from all sorts of protestors, especially Friends of the Earth, telling me what to think and making all sorts of unfounded assertions about the legal position including vivid claims about the duty of Wiltshire Council to do all sorts of things except actually permit the proposed development under the planning process which the council has a duty to follow properly in accordance with law.

I am not on the Strategic Planning Committee (I am a reserve member for the Independent Group, but I will never seek to take up a seat even if our normal seat-holder will be away as we have other reserve members who are bursting to sit on the seat - I've done it many times in the past). 

I expect the committee will be given a briefing on the law before the meeting to make sure they properly understand the correct law including the FACT that the Environment Agency must be left to deal with the safety of the plant and that this is not a matter for the planning process when the EA has a clear role to play.

Are you saying that the EA will decide?  Not taking into consideration the views of the HUNDREDS of objections ranging from extra vehicles on our congested roads to emissions from the Treatment Plant?

The Strategic Planning Committee will decide the new planning application based on planning law.

Where the EA must by law make the decision about public safety as regards environmental and health matters, the council is not allowed to let those matters affect the planning  decision.

This is a matter of law.

Hills are already appealing the decision to refuse the last planning application.

I expect the Strategic Planning Committee this time to focus much more on its correct legal responsibilities not least because there is now really no viable planning reason to refuse the application. The last application was refused on the basis of the building being too large. This is a really tenuous reason in all the circumstances. Now that the new application involves a smaller building, achieved by lowering the whole plant into the ground by digging a large hole out, the too large reason is just not going to wash and the council will be exposed to possible costs if it were to refuse again and then lose a planning appeal .....

The EA's job is to decide the environmental issues. This is where the protestors should be preparing to fight the proposal on proper technical grounds.

I am not sure what relevance you think applies to the number of protestors involved. More objections to planning applications does not mean a stronger case in law. What is relevant is the facts.  More people objecting just shows that the matter is contentious.

Planning application decisions are NOT a democratic process. So more people saying one thing or another is not relevant.  Obviously, some councillors will be influenced if their own electoral chances are going to be affected. This is why decisions sometimes occur which are overturned quickly on appeal. Planning Inspectors are most certainly going to look at the law, not how many people keep saying something that is factually wrong or that is ignoring the law, such as the way the EA is supposed to deal with environmental issues.

Last time, something quite odd happened to the makeup of the committee when one member arrived late and was substituted at the start of the meeting instead of waiting for the usual member to arrive. This affected the voting. I very much doubt if that member will be late again. He is a very experienced member who understand planning law more than most other councillors put together so I am expecting him to follow the proper legal advice given to the committee more closely than the committee did last time.

I am just giving my understanding of the issues here. Of course, I do not know exactly what will happen ..... but I would be surprised if the Conservative members who are the majority of the committee do not vote decisively to follow the officers advice this time.


--- Quote from: DORIAN on February 20, 2019, 08:44:25 AM ---slightly off topic but nevertheless, you mention committee , PLEASE dont jump, but i am only asking a question in a polite manner.

  REF. the proposed the development on the Ham, it was mentioned in the WHN, that you did not attend the meeting and that you could have appointed another person to represent you. just wondered why , whoever wrote the letter was turning the screw

--- End quote ---


I have put your question here because this is the correct thread.

As you know, John Bowley lives in Warminster and often campaigns on issues in Westbury and often takes a swipe at me. You will remember the many misleading letters he wrote in WHN against the eastern Westbury bypass between 2007-10 and many of those included muddles, slurs and false claims about me because I campaigned to support the bypass proposal.

Contrary to his recent letter in WHN, I am not a member of the Wiltshire Council strategic planning committee. I am a substitute but on that occasion the member of my political group, the Independent Group, who has a seat on the committee did not ask any of his three substitutes to attend in his place.

As you may know, I have opposed the proposed gasification plant from the beginning. Indeed, during the first planning application, I was the only Wiltshire Councillor who objected. Permisssion was granted.

During the revised planning application last year, which was refused, I was asked by local residents in my division to attend the committee and speak, which I did. I spoke to support many of the objections especially the town council objection.

This time, no-one asked me to attend or speak. I was asked to call the matter to committee in my role as the local member, which I did.

When I read the officer report recommending permission, I realised that the council had no realistic option (explained above) but to permit the new application. There is simply no proper ground for refusal now.  I was also aware that the meeting would be attended by campaigners with plenty to say, regardless of whether what they said was true or nonsense or muddles or not.  In effect, there was no requirement for me to attend and indeed, no useful purpose anyway as permission was going to be granted regardless.

John  Bowley said that my division is Westbury Ham. It is not. It is Westbury West.

Westbury Ham was a town and district ward in Westbury that ceased to exist when the town/district council ward and county/unitary division boundaries changed in 2009.


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