After 10 blogs in our special ‘Inquiry live!’ series, we come to the end of the Oaken Wood Public Inquiry:
Kent Wildlife Trust provided their closing submission first which covered the status of the ancient woodland and details on the ecology of the site, and concluded by saying that the site should not be lost due to paragraph 118 in the National Planning Policy Framework;
“planning permission should be refused for development resulting in the
loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats, including ancient woodland
and the loss of aged or veteran trees found outside ancient woodland,
unless the need for, and benefits of, the development in that location
clearly outweigh the loss;”.
Gallagher’s and Kent County Council’s closing submissions reiterated their evidence and both submissions included references to local and National Policy, the value of the site and the fact that the site is a Plantation on Ancient Woodland site (PAWS).
The Woodland Trust’s closing statement reiterated our view that a balance needs to be struck, for the need to protect ancient woodland and the need to protect mineral rights. Also included in our submission was the impact on landscape, ancient woodland soils and mitigation/compensation.
When closing submissions were over the Planning Inspector confirmed that at the present time he was unable to provide us with a timetable for when the report was to be sent to the Secretary of State, however this is going to be forthcoming in the next few days. We will let you know as soon as we hear.
The Inspector then formally closed the Public Inquiry.
We would like to say ‘Thank You’ to Kent Wildlife Trust for attending the Inquiry with us and providing the ecological argument. Thanks also go to our Victoria and Matina for the homemade sandwiches which kept the team going!
And I would like to conclude this blog series with a final THANK YOU to everyone who has offered us support and encouragement in the last few weeks. Your support has meant a lot to the team.
Katharine Rist – Campaigner, Ancient Woodland
Read our Nikki’s final post on the Oaken Wood inquiry later…