We have received the decision from the Planning Inspectorate regarding Sky’s applications.. APPEAL DISMISSED, WE HAVE WON!!
Appeal A: APP/U4230/A/11/2162115
1. I dismiss the appeal.
Appeal B: APP/U4230/A/11/2162103
2. I dismiss the appeal.”
After what seems an eternity, this campaign has finally come to a conclusion. The decision comes in line with planning strategy for the area and has found that although true in many decades past, the area has now cast off it’s heavy industrial roots to become a modern, bustling and thriving residential community. A plant such as this would very much be “out of keeping” for the area which will now see a future of mixed residential and tourist developments.
I guess it will take some weeks for this to sink in.. the feeling from the community is one of joy but also of shell-shock.. is it finally over? Can we finally take our lives off hold and start building for the future again? I think yes!!
While I really appreciate the thanks and gratitude I have been receiving since the news, there are many more people who have contributed to our cause. I ask that everyone makes the effort to find and thank them where possible. Honour roll follows in no particular order:
- My Wife & Kids, for all their sacrifices, putting up with my rants, obsessive post-midnight research sessions and re-arranging our holidays to accommodate campaign activities.
- Kirsteen McGarva, for co-founding Say No, driving campaign formation, rallying support through Facebook and handling member email communication as well as many other significant contributions.
- Colin Long, for co-founding Say No, assisting with online communications, forensic research into company backgrounds as well as many other significant contributions.
- Paul Connolly, for being our technical lead and committing countless hours to dissecting scientific materials as well as brilliantly presenting our counter arguments through-out the entire campaign.
- Hazel Blears MP, for championing our cause from early beginnings, providing much guidance, support and advice for the last 3 years. Without her help, experience and contributions this mountain would have been considerably harder to climb.
- Phil Austin, for being the voice of both experience and moderation, providing eloquent speeches, poignant messages and much entertainment to keep us motivated. A trusted rock of the community.
- Cllr Lisa Stone, for providing a much needed sounding board and putting her time, energy and effort into helping us win. Along with galvanising much Council support, Lisa also spoke for us on several occasions to ensure the residents were heard.
- Micheal Halsall, for providing knowledge and guidance.. especially through-out the inquiry where his experience was invaluable.
- Jan Phelan, for organising a seriously successful fundraising evening, handling communications and tireless involvement in other campaign activities.
- Maxine Coyle, for rallying many local community groups, speaking for us at the inquiry, assisting in managing campaign finances and many additional activities.
- Cllr John Cullen, for being with us from the start. Sadly, John passed away last year so he couldn’t be with us at the end, Rest In Peace John. Hope somewhere out there you are enjoying this victory too.
In addition to the core group, most of which have dedicated the last 3 years of their lives to this fight. I would also like to thank the 30-40 local politicians from all parties who supported our cause, particularly Micheal Wheeler, Peter Wheeler, Karen Garrido and Ian Stewart.
Thank Yous finished? Not likely.
We also have to thank the speakers who spoke on our behalf at the inquiry. Official RULE 6 speakers were:
- Ben Clayton: Our advocate and legal support who represented us so brilliantly during the inquiry.
- Peta Williams: owner of the Business & Technology Center sited opposite Sky’s site. We owe her our support for her future plans.
- Dr Nawar Bakerly: For bringing great expertise and knowledge of local health problems and needs.
Remember to thank the 65 Members of the public for being brave enough to speak out and prepare formal speeches for the inquiry. A special note to Micheal Collins and Betty Morton, your speeches were not only moving but relevant and will be with me for life.
Apologies for the 100’s more I’ve missed, thank you also. This was a real community effort and the victory should be shared by all.
The dark cloud cast over the area for the last 3 years is soon to dissipate and while mindful of the struggle we have had, we can now turn our thoughts to the future.
We now need to turn a time of conflict to a time of collaboration. The campaign doesn’t stop here.. We need to work with Sky and the Council to bring a development to the site that works for everyone. The site can’t stay vacant, it needs to fit into the overall strategy for the area.. which is grounded in providing re-generation around the bridgewater canal which inevitably means re-development of Sky’s and some of the surrounding sites. The campaign group will be making efforts to liaise with both the Council and Sky in the coming weeks so we can work together for the future.
The future is yet to be defined.. but what we can say is that it’s considerably brighter than yesterday. This chapter is closing.. looking forward to the next!!
Well done everyone.