Thursday 12th January 2017
Today was day 3 of the Green Gap Appeal. And what a great day it was too.
Crispin Topping took the stand as Mind the Green Gap’s landscape witness and was cross examined by Grainger’s barrister. In the most part this was a calculated attempt to undermine Crispin’s integrity. With nothing to hide Crispin held his ground brilliantly and with much restraint did not rise to the bait. One would hope that the Inspector, like the rest of us, saw all this as a needless distraction and wholly irrelevant. Are Grainger getting a bit desperate?
Next up was Nick Wright who immediately disarmed the opposition by proudly announcing his professional planning qualifications. Which are none. Nick might lack letters after his name but he does not lack expertise. We saw this in his very skilled, calm, articulate and detailed appraisal of the importance of the Gap. He explained what damage coalescence between Didcot and East Hagbourne would bring citing both planning precedent and policy with aplomb.
Grainger’s barrister then had a go at cross examining Nick. It’s fair to say that Mr Maurucci has met his match. Indeed Nick used the cross examination as a chance to further many very relevant and pressing points.
To say I’m massively proud of our boys is a huge understatement. They were superb.
The afternoon was Grainger’s turn. Their landscape expert, Mr Martin Kelly, talked us through his evidence. We heard Grainger’s skewed logic and, as Nick had described it earlier, their ‘magic trick’ of conjuring up a new useful gap from a piece of land they claim is no gap at all.
The day finished with a tough cross examination of Mr Kelly by Tom Cosgrove, SODC’s softly spoken but razor sharp Barrister. I’m very glad Tom’s on our side.
Tomorrow morning at 9am it’s Mind the Green Gap’s barrister, Hashi Mohamed's turn to cross examine Mr Kelly. There’s lots we want to know.
Today was a good day. A very good day indeed. A day we won.
Save the Green Gap
PS. The Pavilion was yet again full all day. Attendance has been fantastic. We've left no doubt that the community care. Good work everybody.