18 February 2008
Thank you for the excellent photograph and article about the flooding along Germany Beck and the way the planning system doesn’t really work. I was standing beside Christine Dinsdale, whose alarm you report, when she showed the pictures and newspaper reports to the Planning Inspector during his site visit at the end of the Public Inquiry about Germany Beck.
The Inspector commented that it was ‘difficult’ when the official flooding line was contradicted by the evidence which various local people reported to him. The Inspector’s report however accepted the ‘official’ view that was given to him by the developers even though we had produced many images, covering a number of floods, that showed the floodwater reached a metre higher than the flood line used in the design.
This unreal approach to the facts continued.
On the same visit we encountered the hole of a water vole. The representative of the developers insisted that this must be ignored since ‘it had not been presented in evidence during the inquiry’. The Inspector went along with this madness and his report accepts the unsubstantiated view presented by the developer’s expert that Germany Beck is not a habitat for water voles, in spite of the evidence presented by those who knew the beck much better and, of course, the inescapable evidence of the hole of a water vole at his feet.
I do not believe that those operating the planning system are either stupid or dishonest so the fault must lie in the mad rules under which they operate which requires some inconvenient truths to be ignored.
Please continue with your enquiry as it is vital that some sense of reality creeps into this planning debate before the vital historic, environmental and recreational resource of Germany Beck is destroyed.