ST FELIX PLANNING APPLICATION (s106):

Planning Committee 18 September 2018

Reydon Action Group for the Environment (RAGE) is keen to make sure Reydon residents know that St Felix and WDC (Waveney District Council) have not yet secured the right to destroy the playing fields on the Halesworth Road, part of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which is supposed to be protected from such developments.  This is not a done deal. 

RAGE has more than 160 members and has now filled the village hall three times with its public meetings.  RAGE are accordingly confident that there are many more residents who don’t want the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and its wildlife to suffer in breach of planning policy (national and local). 

Says RAGE chairman, Stephen Chessher: ‘The council had to extend the consultation period until 11 September – they had no choice as they failed to publish all the relevant documentation initially.  But this has not stopped officers recommending that the s106 is accepted.  This hardly suggests listening to residents’ arguments is at the very top of their agenda.’

The report to committee published on 7th September states that ‘11 letters of objection have, to date been received.’  RAGE thinks it is odd, and perhaps a little unfair, to put in a number when the consultation period, which has been so poorly organised, still had four days to run at the point the papers were published. 

The paperwork is extremely complex and offputting, but the key issues can be summed up thus:

  • The original decision made in July 2017 was flawed as based on partial information.  For example, the committee were wrongly told that the majority of objections did not relate to ‘material’ matters.  RAGE analysis shows nearly all of the several hundred objections were exactly about material matters.
  • RAGE is convinced the community will not benefit at all from this so called ‘enabling application’.  The only people benefiting will be the developers who will make lots of money, St Felix (who want to make their private business more viable)will not spend the proceeds on any ‘heritage asset’ asa true ‘enabling application’ would require.RAGE says that the ‘heritage asset’in question is the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the County Wildlife Site, not the school’s wiring, central heating and computer systems.
  • RAGE believes the ‘affordable houses’ cannot be guaranteed to be built by this s106 agreement.  Even if they were, they would notbe affordable for the local people who really need them.  The vast majority of the others will end up as second homes, of which the community has more than enough.
  • There are many technical problems with the s106 agreement itself but the key issue is that it does not succeed in making the decision of July 2017 compliant with planning policy (national or local). 
  • ‘Moreover,’ says Stephen, a solicitor himself, ‘It was drafted by the School’s solicitors which is contrary to WDC’s own constitution.  This in effect means they are marking their own homework.  There is a strong appearance of bias and this is not legally acceptable.’

RAGE is encouraging anyone who is concerned about the environment of Reydon to write to their ward counsellors, Michael Ladd (Con) and David Beavan (Lib Dem) citing reference: DC/15/3288/OUT.

The planning committee itself will be held in the Conference Room, Riverside, Lowestoft on Tuesday, 18 September 2018 at 6.00pm and RAGE will be making strong representations in opposition at the meeting.

‘It would be great to have a good turn out from people supporting RAGE,’ says Stephen, ‘To show that residents are not going to let this go without a fight.’

Additional information.

Ward Councillors’ contact details:

Michael Ladd (Con) michael.ladd@waveney.gov.uk 
David Beavan (Lib Dem) david.beavan@waveney.gov.uk 

RAGE contact details:

  1. Stephen Chessher, Chair of RAGE, for further information on 01502 723666 or 07826 911510 or sgchessher@gmail.com

What is the s106 agreement all about

  • The planning application was an application for outline planning permission reference DC/15/3288/OUT details of which can be found at www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/planning/planning-applications/publicaccess
  • WDC Planning Committee on 11 July 2017 authorised planning officers to negotiate a s106 agreement (a legal agreement under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) between the Council and the School which will set out obligations of the School in relation to future use of the site and also require the school to make a further planning application for a new sports pitch to replace the pitch which is to be sold for housing 
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are given special protection inter alia under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and the National Planning Policy Framework.