Day two at the Inquiry 16th November 2016 (click here to view)

Firstly, this is the correct version of the inspector’s Preliminary List of the Main Issues.

  1. effect of proposals on the significance, character and setting of St Osyth Priory.
  2. whether the character and appearance of St Osyth Conservation Area would be preserved and enhanced.
  3. effect on community infrastructure – in particular education, medical, highway safety, ecology.
  4. whether the benefits would secure the long term future of the heritage assets and the prospects of benefits coming forward along with the consequences should they not.

Day 2 started with Mr Bird (QC for TDC) examining Paul Drury (TDC witness for Heritage).  He took him through his qualifications and experience, some of which concerned important roles within English Heritage – Inspector of Historic Buildings etc.  He was also involved in the compilation of a number of EH documents including “Enabling Development and the Conservation of Significant Places (2008)”.

He went through all the things we had heard at the first inquiry – views into and out from the Priory, degrees of harm, the historical significance of Mill Street, the principle of building within the Parkland etc.  The only person who hadn’t heard it all before was the inspector.

In the afternoon session, Mr Village (QC for the appellants) cross questioned Mr Drury.  Mr Village started off by extolling the virtues of City & Country as ‘market leaders’ and claiming they were the ideal company to deal with the Priory and invited Mr Drury to agree – which he did.

Through his questions, Mr Village then drew attention to the fact that (in his opinion) TDC had changed their approach completely at the last minute before the planning committee meeting by introducing the Collier Report which took a different approach to dealing with the Priory.  Furthermore, Mr Village claimed they had not informed the appellants.  He claimed the Planning Committee had made their decision without being in full possession of the facts.  It was not mentioned in the questions or answers that the appellants had not availed themselves of the speaking opportunity at the Planning Committee meeting to rectify this.

There was also much argument about Wellwick being granted permission whereas these new applications have been matched against different criteria.  Mr Drury pointed out that Wellwick only raised £1.5million for actual repair works.  Mr Village spent much of the rest of the afternoon on getting Mr Drury to ‘evaluate’ the degree of harm on a 1 to 10 scale for Westfield and the Parkland which seems almost impossible given that this is largely a matter of judgment.

Day 3 will see the continuation of the cross examination of Mr Drury.