Help us secure a Public Inquiry

2010-03-20

Please write to the Secretary of State and request him to "call in" and organise a Public Inquiry into the Battery Rocks terminal scheme. Deadline is this Tuesday (23rd March).

The final decision on Listed Building Consent for the Battery Rocks terminal scheme now lies with John Denham, the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government (or rather the Government Office West Midlands, who handle such matters on his behalf) and the deadline for making representations is this coming Tuesday (23rd March).

It's unusual but the Secretary of State can "call in" an application and order a Public Inquiry in cases where the application is controversial, the process defective, or decision-making flawed. Please write to the Secretary of State asking him to do this and be sure it gets there before Tuesday 23rd March. It's best if you send your letter by email to both john.denham@communities.gsi.gov.uk and WMPlanning@gowm.gsi.gov.uk.

If you want to send your letter by ordinary post it should now go straight to the Case Officer at Government Office West Midlands: Judith Pizzey, GOWM, 5 St Philip's Place, Colmore Row, Birmingham, B3 2PW.

In your letter you should quote the following reference: "Penzance Harbour South Pier LBC application, Cornwall Council Ref: 10-0095-LBC" and specifically ask for the application to be "called in" and a Public Inquiry held. The following are important relevant additional points to make:

1. The application is very controversial with over 1100 letters of objection.
2. The pier is of national importance: to quote Cornwall Council's own assessment it is "one of the largest and most complex 18th century structures of any kind... [and] in a national context, as significant an archaeological resource as any harbour or coastal town in the country."
3. The March 8th reversal of the previous December 14th planning committee decision without any significant change in the application or circumstances surrounding it suggests the decision is unsafe.
4. The application raises a novel and important issue, namely whether a listed building is harmed by burying it under in-fill and rock armour; Cornwall Council concludes that it is not, but if this were agreed it would create a dangerous precedent.
5. The existence of alternatives that have greater community benefit and cause less harm to the listed building means that this application cannot be justified on the grounds of wider community benefit.

At the moment a "call in" and Public Inquiry is the most promising route we have to stop Cornwall Council desecrating our historic pier and seafront and undermining the future prospects of the town. Without pressure from us the Secretary of State could easily just listen to Cornwall Council and rush an approval through before the election. Apologies for asking again, but this one is really important. Please also encourage family and friends to write. If you can capture the above issues and keep it brief and to the point that would be perfect.

Thanks for you help.

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