It’s now well over six years since Gladman early in 2013 launched their opportunist proposals to put 150 houses and 2 office blocks on this grade-two agricultural site opposite the Catholic Church in Pickwick.
And still the poker game – to outwit and outspend any and all opposition to their plans – rolls on!
The latest twist involved the postponement of the four-day Public Inquiry that was scheduled to take place at the beginning of July. The Inquiry is to enable the Planning Inspector to decide on the merits and legal compliance of Gladman’s three latest appeals against Wiltshire Council’s repeated and admirable refusal to approve their proposals.
Since last October we’ve been working on getting all our evidence, witnesses and legal advisers together. All the extensive and costly preparation by the Council and the Association had to be summarily suspended – with only three working days’ notice – and put on ice due to the Inspector becoming unwell.
The process has now been re-scheduled and the Public Inquiry is due to resume on Tuesday 14 January 2020 – although there is even some doubt as to whether that timescale can be achieved.
In the meantime:
(a) the appeal will now be decided by a different Inspector from the one who had previously been fully briefed (at significant, costly input from the Council’s and PA’s teams) for the postponed July hearing
(b) the (new) Inspector held a half-day Pre-Inquiry Meeting with all parties (four barristers plus twelve support professionals) in barrister’s chambers in London on 30 October to establish the legal issues involved and deadlines for submission of evidence. Tony Clark and I attended as observers and to assist our legal advisers.
The Pickwick Association team will continue vigorously to support the council in opposition to this unwarranted, unwanted and entirely speculative development.