Dear all – thanks to all who have objected, for those who haven’t you need to get your objections in ideally by Wednesday as part of the “neighbours” consultation.
Following further information released by Par Petroleum recently we have summarised some more key points below.
“Why build in the green belt? The land to the West of the existing depot is the only land available to extend the site into.” Any sound business strategy would look to re-locate to a site which is fit for purpose and not try to make the best of a bad job. If this is allowed, what will they build in the future and a lack available land does constitute a “very special circumstance” to move into the greenbelt?
“We have given lots of consideration to the points that were raised around our last planning application” The main reasons for rejection have not been addressed. Firstly it was refused because the application wasn’t deemed as being exceptional circumstances to build in a green belt and secondly because it was perceived as being unsafe to extend nearer houses. The current application details their plan to double their footprint by extending into the Green Belt and park fuel tankers nearer to houses. So what has changed exactly?
The Department for Transport Report? “We’re submitting this application to extend the site because the Department for Transport recently visited our depot and advised that we should make some changes to its size and layout, to improve safety and security even further.” taken from their leaflet.
1. Is this sufficient enough of a reason to create a “very special circumstance” for incursion into the greenbelt?
2. Is this sufficient enough of a reason to differentiate this application from the last one?
We believe this to be a recommendation i.e. not mandated, which could be achieved by other means. If it is anything more than a recommendation then the description above is misleading.
We therefore believe this does not warrant a “very special circumstance”.
“The Hadleigh tanker blaze occurred as a result of a fire that was started deliberately.” This major incident required 50 fire fighters working for several hours to tackle the blaze and to prevent the fire from reaching the fuel storage area where 50,000 litres of fuel was kept. A 300m exclusion zone was also put in place to protect life and property - all for 3 tankers! This application is to enable up to 18 vehicles and 13 tankers to be parked overnight, whilst the site also has four fuel storage tanks which store up to 400,000 litres of fuel. This was only one of many possible incidents. We used a relevant but understated example similar to the local environment.
The extension will be 0.48 ha. That is actually 1.18 acres or 4800 square metres – some extension, nearly double the current footprint?
“No fuel will be stored in the extension”, from the planning application. Par Petroleum now say in their recent leaflet “usually empty vehicles” meaning fuel may actually be stored in the tankers parked in the proposed development.
The plans include the re-planting of trees and additional screening so we wont be able to see the tankers or extension. The site will be lit up by floodlights so will be bright and according to the Councils Landscape Officer, the planting will only screen the site ‘to a degree’ which will take some time to establish. So basically we lose a very mature green belt which has a lot of wildlife living on it, whilst the trees planted to block the view, wont and will also take years to grow.