It seems that when we wrote this piece back on August 5, we were not alone in questioning the ‘evidence’ provided by Portsmouth Water’s ‘consultants’.
Almost two weeks later, on August 17, the Environment Agency made the same point as a mandatory consultee:
(Note*: It took a further week before this letter was loaded to the ‘public access’ planning portal yesterday, August 23)
It’s worth reading the whole three page letter since the EA go on to offer some helpful support to the Council’s Case Officer should he be minded to recommend rejection of the application. This includes a robust statement on their likely intention should Portsmouth Water decide to appeal such a decision.
The response from the EA comes on the back of another consultee document, dated August 5, from Hampshire County Council, acting as Lead Local Flood Authority. Both HCC and the EA have now sent Portsmouth Water back to redo their homework, with the newly published EA response warning that even once they receive the new data, it will take them between 6 and 10 weeks to make a revised recommendation.
This application will go nowhere until that happens so keep sending your comments in.
In a slightly more surreal turn, we also note that Portsmouth Water have now entered a Consultee Response themselves. We’re sure that HBC will take them up on their offer of helping to draft ‘appropriate planning conditions’….
* There’s a serious point here…
If you’ve also commented on this, or any other application, and wonder why your comments are still not visible on the Council’s ‘planning portal’ website, then spare a thought for the poor data entry person whose task it seems to be to check each one before they load it. Perhaps a better way would be to load them all and moderate them once they’re up on the system. After all, there are still 500 or so missing which were submitted by concerned Bosmere patients on the back of a recent text appeal by the practice and the Bosmere patients are hardly likely to write invalid comments.
Planning Applications are normally made available for comment for just 21 days. The public have a democratic right to comment and are entitled to expect that your comments will be available to view within a reasonable timeframe, let’s say 48 hours. Right now, waiting for a document or a comment to be loaded to the Planning website is a bit like waiting for a garden waste bin to be emptied.
We’ve asked for an explanation of what’s going on here, so have others. Some are even going as far as suggesting conspiracy theories which we won’t be commenting on.
We’re still waiting for an answer….