10 May Public Inquiry – Site Visit Report – 10th May
SITE VISIT REPORT WEDNESDAY 10th MAY
Following the completion of the Public Enquiry On Tuesday 9th May, the Planning Inspector (PI) visited Chiswell Green On Wednesday morning to view both proposed sites and surrounding areas.
Thankfully the morning was beautifully sunny and helped show our glorious Green Belt countryside at its very best.Alan Moreland and Victoria Prever of KCG, together with two representatives from Cala, Polo and SADC accompanied the Inspector on a pre-agreed route anticipated to last four hours.Each party had submitted specific routes to show the inspector their respective points of interest, however we were all under strict orders that he would not hear new evidence, only to view evidence that had already been presented at the Inquiry.
Entering the Cala South site via the northern gates in Forge End, we walked the full perimeter of the Cala’s proposed development while Cala pointed out the boundaries, planned features and retained landscaping. Alan and Victoria regularly pointed out the many properties that had clear views of the open green belt proposed for development.On the western boundary of the Cala site, we also made it clear that the businesses trading from the former Butterfly World were doing so unlawfully and had been issued notices to vacate the land, so should not be considered as permanent.
Happily, along the route we came across much native wildlife, including rabbits and a variety of birds, plus what looked very much like Quail! That made a point of discussion, so the Inspector was certainly aware of those!
Polo Fields Site
From there we walked along Chiswell Green Lane and viewed the group of cottages opposite the proposed access to the Polo Fields site. We pointed out that these properties would be surrounded by the developments, and how potentially dangerous it would be for them to access their homes due to increased traffic and the narrowness of the road at that point.
From there we walked through to the Polo Field site via the Public Right of Way on the northern boundary. We were pleased the Inspector saw many ramblers and dog walkers using these routes, so if you made a special effort to be there today, thank you!
After completing a circuit of the Polo Field, we walked a series of cross-country Public Rights of Way towards Plaistows Airfield, where we stopped to see a wide (and beautiful!) view of the distant sites together with all the surrounding green belt land.
After hiking for almost four hours in blazing sunshine, we came out of Noke Lane to enter the Watford Road where we pointed out the often-bad traffic congestion, although today the traffic was unusually (and unfortunately) light.
What the Inspector did see however, were waves of our Keep Chiswell Green signs, posters and banners. He could not fail to view the posters in almost every house together with dozens of banners and signs on all adjacent streets and the Watford Road. Despite the efforts of some to destroy these signs, the KCG team did a phenomenal job of installing (and replacing) this signage (including at 5:30 Wednesday morning!), so a huge thank you to them.
Along the route we visited a total of eight homes so the Inspector could physically see the lovely views of green belt countryside from local homeowners’ gardens, lounges and bedrooms. Huge thanks to all the residents that allowed us to tramp through their homes and gardens – we hope the disposable shoe covers prevented any excess dirt!