6 July 2010

Democracy denied

Another scandal . . . East Devon District Council wants comments from the public on the infill application by 22nd July - less than three weeks after validating it.  Here is what I wrote to Steven Belli:

Dear Mr Belli,

I am writing to protest in the strongest terms about the extremely short consultation period provided to the public for the Tesco Infill Operation in Seaton (your ref: 10/1177/MFUL).

The closing date given is 22nd July, which is less than 3 weeks after the validation date.  This is grossly inadequate, for the following reasons :-

  1. Insufficient document access    The documents are still not available on your website (11.20 a.m. on 6 July).  The set deposited at Seaton Town Hall is only accessible for 6 hours a week - a total of 27 hours, including the closing date and can only be used by one person at a time.  The set at the Knowle in Sidmouth is not readily accessible to the many Seatonians who have restricted mobility and transportation.  I have ordered (for £15) a set of documents on CD from the Tesco agents, but I have no way of knowing when it will arrive.
  2. Highly technical and complex content.   The project represents a revolutionary infill process unknown (to the Environment Agency) with major implications for pollution of protected sites on land and at sea, flooding in the town and noise pollution to a wide range of residents.  It is totally unreasonable to expect lay persons to form any opinion of the enormous volume of detailed technical information in the limited time and access allowed.  Seaton Development Trust plans a public information day - at our own expense - to assist interpretation, but we cannot do this in the time provided.
  3. High level of public interest.  The noise levels are of particular concern to the residents along the pipeline route.  At the Town Hall today I was asked by one such resident if it was true that the noise of aggregate passing through the steel pipe will resemble an express train passing by outside her window.  I was unable to comment, and any meaningful assessment requires access to acoustic reports which are not easily digested and interpreted.
  4. Contrary to recent precedent.  None of the previous applications relating to the Seaton Regeneration Site have been made open to responses for such a short period.  For Liatris, three months were allowed.
  5. Other people have a longer period.  The Town Council and other statutory consultees have longer to compile their responses than the people of Seaton - who have the most to lose and the fewest resources for analysis. 
The whole proceeding is a gross injustice and represents, in itself, grounds for contesting any decision reached.  While I realise that Tesco want to get started, they MUST be brought to understand that they cannot just ride rough-shod over local people in this way. 

We look to the District Council to represent the public interest in this matter, in spite of any partnership arrangement you have with Tesco Stores.

Any reply will be posted here: don't hold your breath.

No comments:

Post a Comment