Wednesday 11th January 2017

Today was day 2 of the Green Gap Appeal. 

Mr Mark Flood, SODC’s planning expert, was first on the stand. Assisted by his barrister Tom Cosgrove he very ably presented the Council’s case. It’s fair to say he then had a tough couple of hours being questioned by Grainger’s barrister. But Mark survived the ordeal and will live to fight another day. 

The afternoon saw ‘interested parties’ present their views. In the (not surprising) absence of anyone ‘interested’ in supporting Grainger these views were unanimously in opposition to the appeal. 

Didcot Garden Town consultants Quod gave an very reasonable appraisal of the importance of the Green Gap (as a gap) to their emerging plans. Marcus Wood flew the Neighbourhood Plan flag very well before both Iain Duff and David Rickeard from East Hagbourne Parish Council gave the Inspector the benefit of their impressive experience and knowledge. (Iain got the room laughing which in the staid atmosphere of an appeal is quite an achievement.) 

Andy Stocks was honest, straight forward and on-the-money and Richard Harding of CPRE spoke of the bigger housing supply issues very well. Then Jane Murphy, East Hagbourne’s District Councillor, in her inimitable style, told it like it is. Doug Amos spoke with skill and passion about his views of the Garden Town plans; and Ann Jenner gave an emotive description of how hard it is to live under the shadow of Nurton’s potential development. Mary Harrison let the inspector know all about the bus service, then finally Anthony Dearlove from Didcot Town Council gave the town’s perspective on why the Gap should be retained. 

What a show. 

The room then watched our appeal video (which was well received) before Crispin Topping finished up the day giving his evidence about the Green Gap as valued landscape. As usual Crispin was very much on the ball. 

At 9am tomorrow morning we’ll see Grainger’s barrister Mr Maurici cross examine Crispin and his evidence. Rumble in the Jungle 2. I can’t wait.

Save the Green Gap


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