|CLOSING STATEMENT BY MR
ROBIN S. WALTERS ON FRIDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2004 TO THE PUBLIC INQUIRY
RELATING TO LAND AT: TWICKENHAM POOL, TWICKENHAM RIVERSIDE|
PINS REFS: APP/L5810/V/03/1128907 AND APP/L5810/V/03/1128908 LPA REFS: 03/1141/FUL AND 03/1142/CAC
We were called here to answer three questions put by the Inspector. He has had our answers, and, presumably, will now decide whether to allow the Council's proposal for a temporary, first stage scheme for this site to go ahead.
Whatever his decision, that is the end of the matter for him. For us, we have the long haul ahead, once again, of trying to agree on an acceptable development for the site as a whole.
We have arrived at this point not because of disagreements within the community, but because Council officers have in the past proposed developments designed principally to meet the needs of developers, with little regard for the needs of the community or the very special conditions of the site.
To achieve their own target profit for giving up the land, and to provide sufficient profit to attract the interest of developers, the Council has been forced into over - development.
Council officers have found ways of setting aside or interpreting reports, guidelines, etc. to support their plans, and councillors have felt unable to challenge the mass of complex data. It is only thanks to the Secretary of State and a vigilant public that we have been spared a monstrous carbuncle on what has been aptly described as 'One of the most beautiful Arcadian landscapes in the whole of Northern Europe'.
Tom McKevitt is in charge of this new proposal, and I am prepared to take on face value his assurances with regard to full and fair consultation and a low level, low density development with predominantly public open space. But, by the same token, I am alarmed by his dismissal of the TSG's Rethink on the Riverside, and by a statement made in 1.1.8 of his Summary Proof of Evidence. It says: 'Cabinet has been advised that the achievement of a future viable scheme might require a much more significant level of enabling development than apparently envisaged by some members of the public'.
Sadly, I have seen no convincing evidence of original thought so far, and I fear we may be following a leader down the well-trodden path of broken promises to a barren destination.
If I were to be granted one favour by the Inspector, it would be the condition that a Site Brief for the final development should be agreed between the community and the Council, before it goes to Cabinet for approval. It would certainly obviate the possibility of grief later.
|page last amended 28/2/04|