Mixed Messages From Sky Representatives On Consultation – Legally Required or Not?

Those who attended the meeting at Monton House Hotel, on 25th January 2010, may remember some of the responses from Sky Properties, when questioned regarding the purpose of the Green Lane Eco Park consultation activities.

It was in fact put to Sky and their representatives, including John Twitchen (Managing Director of Sauce Consultancy) who was chairing the meeting, that their only motivation for carrying out the consultation was because they were legally required to do so as part of the planning process.  The response to this was clear. They claimed that they were not legally required to do so and claimed that the consultation was soley for the benefit of the community.

Throughout, It has been the view of the local community, that Sky have only attempted to do the minimum that they believe they are legally required to do, in order to ensure they comply with the relevant planning policy and legislation.  There is no true motivation to consult the public and the overwhelming opposition to the proposal has been completely ignored.  We clearly stated this in a campaign update posted in May 2010.  In a subsequent letter from Anthony Hirsch (dated 10th June 2010), while referring to the consultation activities he again re-iterates..

“We are not legally obliged to do this, to correct another incorrect statement on the residents’ group’s website”

In both January and June, Sky’s message has been clear and consistent.. their consultation activities are not a legal requirement

What is confusing, is that a few weeks after the January meeting in early February, this video interview of John Twitchen, was published on waste industry website, www.mrw.co.uk:

In this video, John is asked “How important is consultation as part of the planning process?”.

He answers, “It’s critical and it’s a legal requirement, you have to do certain things as part of your planning application”. He continues, “It’s about many, many different things, but you have to come back to the legal requirement and particularly in new legislation coming through, the national policy statements for example, so  if you’re proposing a renewable energy facility over 50 MW, then you’ll have to do quite a lot of consultation before you put your application in”.

Can we conclude that what Mr. Twitchen is saying in this video is actually true?. If so, the consultation is in fact a legal requirement and, as we have maintained but contrary to what Sky have been claiming.  The only reason Sky has done anything at all, is to try to get the legal ticks in the boxes they require to steamroll through their proposal.

A wise man once said that the deeper you dig, the more dirt you find.

We urge the Council, to examine carefully the claims Sky make in their application regarding consultation.  The community know what’s being proposed, the real impact and the disastrous consequences for Salford and Eccles. We will not have the wool pulled over our eyes.