Cogges Link Road inquiry: day 7

November 5th, 2011 by Kate Griffin Leave a reply »

This took place on Tuesday 4th October. The inquiry opened with 10 statutory objectors making the case against the Cogges Link Road (CLR).

Tim Walker, statutory objector, raised again the issues of cost, the loss of Hay Meadow, congestion on Station Lane and increased flood risk. He also asked why Oxfordshire County Council have not sought legal advice over the status of the Section 106 money. David Holgate QC, lawyer for the council, asked whether Mr Walker was aware of the “statement of common ground” prepared by both sides in relation to Section 106 money. Mr Walker asked Mr Holgate to clarify his question but Mr Holgate simply replied “No.”

Dr Janet Maxwell, statutory objector, criticised the county council for choosing an option that will increase car use rather than making it easier for people to exercise.

Gillian Solway, statutory objector and Stanton Harcourt resident, objected on grounds of cost, noise, pollution, loss of country park land.

Fiona Basson, statutory objector and west Witney resident, raised concerns about the effects of the CLR on queuing traffic from the Ducklington junction along Thorney Leys. She also expressed concerns over the increased flooding risk.

John Aldous, statutory objector, criticised the council for contravening the ‘Windrush in Witney’ document which was drawn up to protect the Windrush valley.

Pam Triggs, statutory objector, presented extensive data on the 2007 flooding, reminding the inquiry that there was also a flash flood in Witney in 2008 in which a child died.  She told the inquiry that she had sent flooding documentation to numerous Councillors (town, district and county) in 2008 and only one has ever responded.

Owen Edwards, statutory objector, pointed out that exchange land proposed to replace part of the Eton Close play area is 750m from the current play area, a considerable distance for children to reach unsupervised. Other points made by Mr Edwards:

  • The planning permission granted for the Cogges Link Road was granted with 28 conditions. Only seven of these conditions have been discharged.
  • The flood model agreed by the Environment Agency is misleading because relevant data were not used.
  • Although Mr Holgate’s opening address claimed “significant local support for the CLR”, there is a petition against the road with over 4,000 signatures on it. Mr Edwards asked: “Where is the significant local support?”

Mr Edwards also read a submission from a Mr Harness highlighting the fact that the land replacing the country park land may not be suitable for wheelchair access.

Dr Katy Jennison, statutory objector, presented objections relating to the New Yatt Road (from the perspective of both residents and non-residents). She said that the county should seek to reduce long-distance traffic from the town centre and that the Shores Green option would achieve this more effectively than the Cogges Link Road. She told the inquiry that she has asked three times for detailed documentation on the county council’s ‘Origin and Destination Survey’, but this has not been provided.

David Holgate, lawyer for the council, said in response to Dr Jennison that although the graphs only show short journeys, longer journeys are still taken into consideration. The planning inspector gave Dr Jennison the option to examine evidence yet to be submitted and appear again at the inquiry at a later date.

Michael Kavanagh, statutory objector, told the inquiry that Cllr David Harvey had stated that Cogges did not flood in 2007 and that Cllr Harvey had claimed ‘CLR was a done deal’.

After the statutory objectors finished, the case for the Mawle Trustees began. Mark Lowe QC opened with a summary of the arguments against the CLR. His main point: the inadequacies of the county’s proposal mean that it cannot justify the compulsory purchase of the land in question. He told the inquiry that essential data was not provided by Oxfordshire County Council in good time, and that five new documents had been submitted to the inquiry over the weekend.

Mr Lowe then called Doug Sharpes, noise expert. Key points:

  • The impact of the noise on adjacent properties and the country park was assessed by Mr Sharpes using World Health Organisation guidelines.
  • He found the noise effects of CLR and Shores Green on the adjacent properties were essentially equivalent.
  • As for the country park, the Cogges Link Road performs worse than Shores Green, especially in the north part of the park.

Mr Sharpes was cross-examined by Matthew Reed, lawyer for the county, which included some debate about the significance of the county’s noise data.

To finish, the planning inspector asked Mr Holgate for clarification of  the complementary measures proposed.

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