On Friday 9th March this email arrived from the Secretary of State's office. It dashed our hope that Seacourt would undergo a proper independent expert review - a review that almost certainly would have found against the Council's plan. So the case is lost, the Park and Ride will go ahead. there is nothing more we do to stop it. (apart from say 'I told you so' every time it rains heavily and when the Flood Alleviation Scheme is shown to be compromised as a direct result).
We decline to speculate why the government are giving Oxford City enough rope to hang itself.
I refer to the representations you have made on the above planning application. I promised to let you know the outcome.
The Government remains committed to giving more power to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning issues, and believe that planning decisions should be made at the local level wherever possible. The call-in policy makes it clear that the power to call in a case will only be used very selectively.
The Secretary of State has decided, having had regard to this policy, not to call in this application. He is satisfied that the application should be determined at a local level.
I appreciate that this is not the preferred outcome for you and I understand that there will be great disappointment as a result. It is, however, now for the Council to determine this application and a copy of our letter to the Council is attached for your information.
The Rt Hon. Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has been asked to call in the Seacourt application. It is the Minister's personal decision. If he does, then Oxford City Council's approval of the plan will be scrutinised by an Independent and authoritative Planning Inspector. We believe there is a good chance their decision to go a head could be overruled.
Oxford City Council are believed to be lobbying hard to persuade him to turn a blind eye. So OBG has joined with other concerned groups in writing to explain why it is vital Seacourt is reviewed.
Please read our letter. How could any responsible Minister of State let this pass? His decision is expected soon.
OBG, Friday 9th February
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