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Letter: Judicial Review is New Step to Stop Footpath Replacing Hedgerow

Published on: 20 Mar, 2021
Updated on: 20 Mar, 2021

From: John Ferns

In response to: Outcry Over Housing Scheme Footpath Threat to 400m Hedge in Ash Green

Non-aficionados of the planning shenanigans in the west end of the borough will probably be unaware that yet another application for a High Court judicial review has recently been launched.

I was in the council chamber on October 9, 2019, when the planning application, 18/P/02308 was considered. I listened to an impassioned appeal from Ms Wyeth-Price that a pivotal document, now locally labelled the “dodgy document” had not been uploaded to the planning portal.

Because of this, she claimed, there had been no opportunity for anyone to comment on or object to what was being proposed, namely the wanton destruction of 400m of legally protected hedgerow to make way for a footpath, and that the implications had not been pointed out to the planning committee by the planning officer.

Nobody outside the planning department had seen the document. Ms Wyeth-Price was made aware only because the document being referred to in the planning officer’s presentation had not been published.

At the time, I recall the duty planning solicitor poo-pooing the suggestion that GBC should withdraw the application from that night’s meeting for consideration at a later date, which is probably the core reason behind this application for judicial review.

Now, 17 months later, the “dodgy document“, dated March 4, 2019, has at last surfaced on the GBC planning portal along with spuriously estimated traffic flows emanating from the development, which, had the contents had been properly published for local residents and members of the planning committee, might have led to a different decision on the night.

But at least our feathered friends can be thankful for small mercies. The bird-nesting season is now in force, so there should be no danger of the protected hedgerow “accidentally” disappearing overnight, although already it has been extensively “butchered” by GBC contractors in recent months.

Local residents will watch the denouement of this latest saga of Ash Green Residents v. GBC with interest.

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test One Response to Letter: Judicial Review is New Step to Stop Footpath Replacing Hedgerow

  1. Marion Howells Reply

    March 21, 2021 at 3:24 pm

    I think we all owe a big thank you to Sue Wyeth-Price. She wrote very well in The Guildford Dragon and continues to campaign.

    We must not be beaten by the borough council which appears to wish to bulldoze so many things through to satisfy the requirement for housing units, whatever the cost to the environment.

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