Cogges Link Road inquiry: day 11

November 7th, 2011 by Kate Griffin Leave a reply »

This took place on Tuesday 11th October. David Holgate QC, lawyer for the county, continued his cross-examination of Christ Whitlow, flooding expert for the Mawle Trust. Key points arising from the cross-examination:

  • Witan Park Industrial Estate should be included in any flood model. There is a wall to protect it, but this wall is not a flood defence.
  • There is debate between the two sides about what values should be assumed for the water flow when flood modelling. Dr Whitlow does not accept the county council’s values.

Dr Whitlow was then re-examined by Wayne Beglan, lawyer for the Mawle Trust. They established that there is an increased flood risk with the Cogges Link Road, even with the proposed mitigation measures.

After lunch the planning inspector announced a meeting of non-statutory objectors whose objections are about traffic. This was scheduled for Friday 14th October.

Then Steven Smallman gave evidence on planning issues. Key points:

  • The  CLR is designed to cater for short journeys to the town centre, but making these journeys easier by car will not help Witney move towards greater sustainability. This seems contrary to national planning policies.
  • Strengths of the CLR: it is a long-standing proposal and is funded.
  • Weaknesses of the CLR: the adverse effects on the country park and protected species.
  • Strengths of the Shores Green option:  it has a small footprint with less environmental impact.
  • Weaknesses of Shores Green: It would not decrease Bridge St traffic as well as the CLR, it makes traffic take a detour into town and it is not fully funded.

Mr Smallman’s conclusion was  that the environmental harm of the Cogges Link Road outweighs the social benefits.

Mr Holgate cross-examined Mr Smallmen on the Shores Green alternative. He pointed out that land required for the Shores Green option is owned by a Mr Walker, and that a compulsory purchase order may be required if he will not sell the land. Mr Holgate also stated that there is no contractual agreement between the county council and the Mawle Trustees to transfer CLR money to Shores Green in the event of Shores Green going ahead.

Mark Lowe QC, lawyer for the Mawle Trust, re-examined Mr Smallman and clarified that Mr Walker is against the Shores Green option because he wants the CLR to be built instead. If the inquiry finds against the compulsory purchase order and the CLR cannot go ahead,  Mr. Walker will no longer have a basis for his objection to Shores Green, since his preferred option would not be possible. This suggests that there would be no problem in purchasing the land for Shores Green. (Mr Walker was not present during these discussions.)

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