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 Post subject: Day 13 – Deprivation Deprivation Deprivation
PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 8:59 pm 
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Friday, 19 December 2008
Day 13 – Deprivation Deprivation Deprivation
Mr Stephen Sauvain, QC for Liverpool City Council, continued his cross-examination of retail and regeneration specialist Mr Mike Hollis. Mr Sauvain established that the scheme was out of scale; Mr Hollis reiterated that it wasn’t ideal but the due to the level of deprivation in Kirkby there were very special circumstances.

Mrs Burden, the planning inspector, asked what affect the current economic downturn would have on the scheme as Mr Hollis had indicated that the crisis could be the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Mrs Burden, in light of this somewhat dire prediction, was particularly interested in the 5% growth forecast. Mr Hollis was surprisingly confident that this could be achieved but agreed to supply Mrs Burden with a revised forecast with a lower growth factor.

Returning to the size of the scheme Mr Sauvain suggested that if you draw your catchment area wide enough you could justify need and therefore development? Remarkably Mr Hollis disagreed “No, the catchment area was for the future of Kirkby and the scheme would provide Knowsley with a major centre” Mr Sauvain “Perhaps Huyton residents would like to see expansion there?” Mr Hollis, clearly becoming frustrated, responded with “there are no huge areas of deprivation in Huyton and there are no areas for edge of centre development.” Mr Sauvain reminded Mr Hollis that North Huyton wasn’t particularly wealthy.

Mr Hollis continued to explain that the leakage from Kirkby was unacceptable but Mr Sauvain pointed out that Kirkby should be designed to meet the needs for a larger catchment area for convenience shopping. Mr Hollis conceded that the size of the Tesco store could have been smaller but Mr Sauvain immediately responded with “in that case why didn’t you try to locate the food store in the Northern part of the town?” Mr Hollis explained that the site was too small to accommodate a suitable sized store. Strangely it was in 2006 when the UDP was adopted.

The Rev Tim Stafford then cross-examined Mr Hollis on behalf of the Kirkby Residents Action Group. Tim enquired, “Why are the comparators Skelmersdale, Bootle and St Helens, and not other areas that are comparable with Kirkby?” Mr Hollis responded, “These are the areas that the objectors have suggested will lose investor confidence” Tim “So no Liverpool comparators then?” Mr Hollis “No, but if you want to put one forward?”

Tim then attempted to establish what the shortages of jobs of the right type for Kirkby were. Mr Hollis explained “A few construction but mainly retail” continuing the “lets portray Kirkby in the worst possible light” tactic Mr Hollis added “It’s the second most deprived area in the country” The turbulent priest’s reaction was swift “Kirkby or Knowsley? What is your evidence for that?” without waiting for a reply Tim told the inquiry “Can we get this clear? That’s Knowsley not Kirkby” A suitably informed Mr Hollis awaited the next question.

“So there will be more low paid, part time jobs in Kirkby?” asked Tim. “Some of the jobs will be part time, it will give Kirkby the kick start it needs” explained Mr Hollis. Tim “What about the effects on small traders?” Mr Hollis “I’ve heard some traders speak in favour”

Tim asked about the amount of jobs, “1,200” explained Mr Hollis. “Full time?” enquired Tim, “No”

Tim then attempted to establish the schemes benefit to the local economy; Mr Hollis simply explained that the money went back into the local economy through wages.

Peter Fisher, Knowsley Constituency Liberal Democrats, asked if any risk assessments had been conducted on the nearby shopping centres of Huyton and Prescot? Mr Hollis admitted that they hadn’t adding that they were slight and in relation to Asda the impact was within tolerable limits. Mr Fisher responded by pointing out that there was no traditional linkage between Huyton and Kirkby as far as shopping went.

 Post subject: Day 14 - Kirkby CEO Attempts Explanations
PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:00 pm 
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Day 14 - Kirkby CEO Attempts Explanations
Mrs Sheena Ramsay, CEO of Knowsley Council, presented her evidence on why Tesco’s proposal was good for the town and took no time at all in reiterating Tesco’s diatribe concerning the severe deprivation suffered by Kirkby. Led by Mr Kingston, the QC for KMBC, the CEO of Knowsley described how the people of Kirkby deserved this opportunity but with over half of the town, up to 25,000 people, suffering some form of deprivation it was impossible for unskilled individuals, with low self-esteem, to improve and that three out of four of their children were being raised in poverty. Mrs. Ramsay described how previous attempts to break a cycle of decline had failed and that this development offered the people of Kirkby a stepping-stone back to employment, explaining that not all the jobs were low paid.

Echoing the views of Everton’s recently departed CEO, Mrs Ramsay explained that, for Kirkby, there was no plan b. This was presumably no plan b after Development Securities, who according to the CEO offered only a veneer and no business plan, perhaps the fact they were bought out by Tesco prevented them from doing so, and the St Modwen proposal failed due to being unable to purchase property belonging to Telegraph Properties (Kirkby) Ltd.

Mrs Ramsay closed by responding to Mr Kingston’s question regarding Everton and / or Tesco being given land by KMBC. Mrs Ramsay explained that Everton weren’t receiving a £52M subsidy from the council via the land on which the proposed stadium stood and, perhaps with the memory of the Liverpool Academy deal ringing in her ears, she confirmed that the council had taken legal advice on ensuring that Everton could not sell on the land to another developer. So that would be legal advice received on preventing Everton selling land that they’re not being given. We’re glad that’s cleared up then.

The Rev Tim Stafford, representing the Kirkby Residents Action Group, KRAG, asked Mrs Ramsay why Council members were not allowed to inform their constituents about the proposals prior to the Council vote, Mrs. Ramsay explained that she didn’t know but then said it wasn’t common practice for the planning committee to talk openly about such matters, to which Tim replied that it didn’t help that the planning committee was heavily skewed towards Kirkby Councillors.

Tim began to question the reasoning behind the lack of positives in the reports, citing that Kirkby Schools were above the national average in science subjects. Mrs Burden interjected at this point and asked Tim to provide figures before continuing along these lines.

Tim next attempted to clarify why KMBC had put out leaflets about the development prior to the elections earlier this year, suggesting that there was a clear political imbalance in this action. Mrs. Ramsay explained that this was to prove that this was an election issue but went on to say it wasn’t a referendum. No it certainly wasn’t a referendum as Council leader Ronnie Round felt that the people of Kirkby would be unable to understand the complex issues. Of course councilors would understand.

Tim next tried to ascertain why concerns over the stadium were never addressed, not even in the initial consultation process. Predictably Mrs Ramsay didn’t know that they weren’t but explained that the data was at the JMU. Tim finally established that local residents in Tithebarn Lane were never consulted on their views.

Mr Stephen Sauvain, QC for Liverpool City Council, began his cross-examination with a question on job creation. He suggested that of the 617 jobs Tesco were bring to the town only half that number would be guaranteed for local people; if the other phases didn’t happen there would be no more jobs, Mr. Sauvain said “This isn’t a step change, and it’s not going to halt deprivation is it?” Mrs Ramsay replied that the scheme, as a whole, is not being looked at as just a job opportunity; the scheme is to put Kirkby on the map and make it attractive for investors.

Mr Sauvain continued “What, if any, were the benefits for the community?” Mrs. Ramsay responded, “There will be renewed public buildings an improved public realm and a new image for the area, it’s less quantifiable, but it will help residents by raising their expectations of the area.”

Mr Sauvain next asked what steps had been taken to see what could be redeveloped within the existing UDP framework? Mrs Ramsay attempted to refer this question to the redevelopment expert, but Mr Sauvain insisted that Mrs Ramsay answered the question on the grounds that she was the only Council officer he could cross-examination on this matter. He continued “Are you aware of any exercise that has been undertaken to redevelop Kirkby?” without waiting for an answer he launched into another “You have done nothing……… have waited for someone to come along with a proposal, haven’t you?” and another “you only seem to respond to proposals put to you instead of coming up with your own” Mrs. Ramsey, finally taking the opportunity, responded “I don’t think that’s fair, we wanted to work with Mr. Weiss” (a former owner of the town centre) Mr. Sauvain ignored the response and continued by stating that KMBC had failed, they hadn’t even contacted ASDA to see if they wanted to build on their old site.

Mr. Sauvain next turned his attention to the council’s receipts from land values; An uncomfortable Mrs. Ramsey stated, “King Sturge are the council’s advisors.” Mr. Sauvain wanted to know if the land was sold on development value or use value. Mr. Kingston urgently interjected and stated that the King Sturge report would not be released. Ignoring Mr. Kingston Mr. Sauvain continued “Is the amount of land consistent with the level needed for that amount of enabling / subsidy?” He explained that this is a material and relevant factor, this will enable subsidy, “Is the land being sold with hope value?” Mrs. Ramsay answered, “The land deal relates to this particular development.” Mr. Sauvain wanted to know how the council understood the deal, specifically relating to how Tesco are able to give Everton £52M through this deal. Mrs Ramsay elucidated “Tesco are assisting EFC with the stadium.” As it appeared that a satisfactory explanation wouldn’t be putting in an appearance Mr. Sauvain offered his own, “the land increase value would help Everton Football Club, the land value is more than what is being paid to the council? Mrs. Ramsey responded, “The land value is predicated on the development.” At this point Mrs. Wendy Burden attempted to extract some clarity “The council own land. Planning permission is given. If the council then sold the land, could they receive a higher return for the land?” Mrs. Ramsey replied, “If permission was granted for this scheme, yes.” Mrs. Burden continued “Could you get a higher value if you put it on the open market, with planning permission?” An increasingly anxious Mr. Kingston interjected “Covenants have been placed on the land and there are difficulties; Tesco’s covenants have been passed onto Everton Football Club.” Mr. Sauvain again stated that there was a clear relationship between the quantum and the £52M, enabling or not. “Who is providing the £52M and who is paying for the construction of the council buildings?” All Mrs. Ramsey could offer was that the money is being obtained from the land sale.

Mr. Peter Fisher, Knowsley Constituency Liberal Democrats, asked questions surrounding replacement sports and leisure facilities. Mrs. Ramsey explained that although a running track would be replaced at Brookfield school, there were no plans for a new cycle track and no new Kirkby suite, but there will be the leisure centre and rooms in the stadium. There will also be new council offices but Huyton will be the nearest civic suite.

Dave Kelly representing KEIOC now took over the cross-examination and began by asking if Mrs. Ramsay was involved in talks concerning Newcastle's possible relocation to Gateshead when Newcastle council employed her. Mrs. Ramsey explained that she wasn’t involved but she knew there was strong opposition.

Dave asked when she became aware of Tesco's plan for Kirkby. Mrs. Ramsay answered, “January 2006, but I only really got involved in March or April of that year.” Dave then enquired about the meeting with George Howarth MP on 16th January 2006 but unfortunately Mrs. Ramsey couldn't remember that particular meeting. “Why choose Kirkby when initially looking at other sites?” asked Dave, unfortunately Mrs. Ramsey couldn’t remember that either.

Dave moved on to attempt to establish Everton’s initial involvement and was told that there had been no reason to bring Everton to the table during the preliminary discussions with Tesco or later Development Securities, nor could KMBC enter into an exclusivity agreement with Development Securities, as they, the council, had already entered into one with Tesco.

Dave, “Did you ask Development Securities if they'd pay market value for the land?” Mrs. Ramsay responded, “They never told us what they wanted.”

Dave, “In 1999, Terry Leahy and David Henshaw were talking about outdated perceptions of Kirkby and looking at it in a good light, what's changed? The former CEO saying Kirkby is great and now you are saying it isn't. So has it improved or stayed the same under your tenure?” Mrs. Ramsay countered, “We are always looking to improve. The fabric of the town center looks worn, needs upgrading and refurbishing.” Dave, “It was a town centre that was winning awards ten years ago.” Mrs. Ramsay “That was ten years ago.”

Dave then asked about Kirkby baths and Barclaycard’s intentions. Mrs. Ramsay explained “ Land could have been offered to Barclaycard to expand but they are earmarked for demolition.” Dave, “The development brief in 1997 identified the site to the north for leisure, a supermarket and a petrol station, couldn't that land still deliver this?” Mrs. Ramsay explained, “This case is a different planning application.” Dave, “The residents would think that's the ideal place, being in the town centre.” Mrs. Ramsay, “We can't attract that sort of development.” A puzzled Dave Kelly then asked “Have you seen Development Securities outcome of their presentation?” Mrs. Ramsey “I’m aware of it” Dave, “It's damning, isn’t it? 91% of local people preferred their plans to Tesco's; that's a vocal majority. An unimpressed Mrs. Ramsay responded “500 people in a population of 40,000 isn’t a majority” Dave replied “Our MP, George Howarth did something similar (with 500 people) which made the front page of the Liverpool Echo, his result was 51% in favour of redevelopment.” Mrs. Ramsay then offered another explanation, “The questions Development Securities asked were phrased in such a way as to get those results.”

Turning to the public consultations Dave asked, “How much was put into the KMBC public consultation?” Mrs. Ramsay “I don't know.” Dave, “By Tesco?” “Don’t know” “By Everton?” “Don’t know”

Dave continued, “The vast majority of residents were astonished when they found out Everton Football Club had no input while we were continually told about Everton’s role in developing the Town Centre. Why was there was no mention of the stadium in the Kirkby Suite?” Mrs Ramsay “There was in the Leisure Centre.” To howls of laughter Dave responded, “There must have been an obstructed view then, I didn't see them.”

Dave moved on to the agreement with Tesco “The agreement was formalized on 9th August 2007; this was three days into the ballot conducted by Everton?” Mrs. Ramsay “It was a Masterplan that both Tesco and Everton could work to.”

Dave asked, “Is a development of this size appropriate for a town whose population is in decline?” Mrs Ramsay could only offer “Other witnesses are better placed……” Dave, “What's been KMBC's role in Destination Kirkby?” Mrs. Ramsay explained, “Destination Kirkby is the brand name, our role has involved negotiating but not influencing.”

Dave, “I was invited to the last Destination Kirkby meeting; if it was truly representative of the community, it should have had trade union representation and faith group representation; why didn't it?” Mrs. Ramsay responded, “I’m not aware it didn't, can you pass me the documentation?”

Dave, “How is this authority going to manage 1,000's of football fans and the aspect of crush-loading onto trains, a term particularly repulsive to people from the City of Liverpool?” Mr. Kingston immediately protected Mrs. Ramsay, “That’s a matter for Mr. Ellis, the transport expert.

Dave, “KMBC, Tesco and Everton claim Kirkby can't attract investment. Everyone agrees it needs it, why haven't we achieved it in the past?” Mrs. Ramsay “That’s a good question, but I can’t say why.” Unconvinced, Dave continued, “There's been £200-£150M of potential investment offered over the past few years from St. Modwen, Development Securities and Tesco; what happened there?” Mrs. Ramsay, “Every effort was made for that to happen but no proper application had been submitted before now.

Dave, “What's KMBC's actual budget?” Mrs. Ramsay, “£350M, approximately.” Dave, “So how will you fund replacement council buildings?” Mrs Ramsay “Through the sale of land”

In closing Dave asked Mrs. Ramsay, “Stonebridge Cross; this development would have had a detrimental effect on Kirkby town centre, so you opposed it, won't Cherry Meadows have a detrimental effect?”

Mrs Burden intervened before Mrs. Ramsay had the opportunity to reply, “The witness is not a planning expert”

Mrs. Ramsay’s ordeal will continue tomorrow when Mr. Lancaster takes his opportunity to cross-examine Knowsley’s CEO.

 Post subject: Day 15
PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:02 pm 
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Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Day 15
Regeneration expert tells inquiry that housing based schemes are likely to kill future developments

Mr Roger Lancaster, barrister for the combined authorities, began the day with his cross-examination of Mrs. Sheena Ramsay, CEO of Knowsley.

Mr Lancaster asked how KMBC had attempted to address the levels of apparent deprivation through their existing Unitary Development Plan. Mrs Ramsay explained that the recently adopted UDP, 2006, had reflected the needs of the town until the opportunity surrounding the current proposal had emerged, she confirmed that the UDP, if prepared today, would have perhaps had a different approach.

It should be remembered that the current UDP identified the need for a 9,000 sq m supermarket with an additional 2,000 sq m of additional retail space. The current proposal being considered by the inquiry is for a combined 50,000 sq m. whilst the need has apparently increased dramatically the population during the last two years has, not surprisingly, remained the same.

When Mrs Ramsey explained that the current proposals would have a positive impact on local education, improve employment opportunities and raise local aspirations; Mr Lancaster pointed out that as far as education was concerned, these proposals were irrelevant and would not bring any monies into local education and reminded her that the extent of commitment to education in Knowsley was to turn eleven schools into seven learning centres. Mrs. Ramsey agreed with this premise but then explained that the Everton in the community programme would have a positive affect on the local community through re-engaging young people. EITC is an innovative programme that currently operates throughout Merseyside.

Turning to the affect the planning proposal will have on the local housing community specifically the value of properties close to the development Mrs. Ramsay initially dismissed the question by claiming that she wasn’t an estate agent but responded that it may not help those properties when reminded that she had said that it would make the market more attractive. On the subject of the affect on the local community Mrs. Ramsay confirmed that no work had been done on a plan b but that she wasn’t qualified to comment on the affect on the community of 50,000 football supporters descending on the town.

Mr. Lancaster next attempted to establish why Tesco appeared to having been in receipt of preferential treatment from KMBC over St Modwen, Mr. Weiss, a previous owner of parts of the town centre and then Development Securities. Mrs. Ramsay explained that whilst she agreed there had been interest no planning applications had been forthcoming. Mr. Lancaster enquired why if KMBC were prepared to use CPO’s now why hadn’t they used them on Mr. Weiss for St Modwen when they wanted to develop? Why had Development Securities spent £60M if they weren’t serious? Mrs. Ramsay explained that she believed Development Securities had no substance behind their plans and that with St. Modwen’ failure to develop, it was “a question of degrees.”

Next Mr. Lancaster turned his attention to the tricky area of land values. Mr. Lancaster asked, “If it (the value) isn’t based on land value is it perhaps based on hope value?” Mrs. Ramsay answered, “It’s based on a King Sturge valuation.” An irritated Mr. Kingston, representing Knowsley, interjected by informing the inquiry that this question had been asked and would not be answered again. Mr. Sauvain, QC for LCC then stated that as the information given was insufficient and no evidence had been provided, he would make a submission to the Secretary of State that no weight or decision can be made on this issue.

Mr. Lancaster continued by asking Mrs. Ramsay if the land sold to Tesco could be bought back if the scheme failed, somewhat astonishingly Mrs. Ramsay replied that if permission wasn’t granted then there would be no right to buy back the land. Mr. Lancaster pointed out that, (because Tesco now own most of the town centre and have the only planning application) the future of the town centre depended on Tesco and that the future of Skelmersdale depended on the outcome of this, although what happens in Skelmersdale will not affect this.

Mrs. Burden asked Mrs. Ramsay what the council’s position would be if Destination Kirkby was proven to have a detrimental affect on other Knowsley centres such as Huyton and Prescot. Mrs. Ramsay explained that they had taken expert independent advice on this matter and it had been established that no threat existed for those centres but she acknowledged the concerns of Skelmersdale in West Lancashire.

Mr. Kingston then established from Mrs. Ramsay that the grant applied from the NWDA would be lost if the scheme failed to go ahead.

Mr. Kingston once again led Mr. Hollis, the applicant’s expert in regeneration and retail, through his evidence. Mr. Hollis explained that he had used two sources to calculate revised retail forecasts due to the current economic climate; he concluded that there would be sufficient expenditure available to the development for it to be successful.

Mrs. Burden appeared unconvinced and indicated that the projected rates of growth, in the current climate, could be somewhat unrealistic. Mr. Hollis offered to conduct another forecast to determine the possible affect of the current economic downturn and present this revised information in January.

Mr. Lancaster began his cross-examination by wanting to know why Kirkby, a town of 42,000 inhabitants, needed the third largest Tesco in England and the biggest in the North West. Mr. Hollis replied it was needed for the new role that he envisaged for Kirkby and that there did exist a need.

Mr. Lancaster, clearly unconvinced, continued to probe Mr. Hollis about the enormous size of the proposed Kirkby supermarket. “Why, on a day to day basis, does Kirkby need this size of store?” Mr. Hollis relented that he was unable to present a qualitative case for the quantum but that the size was essential to provide the critical mass that would provide jobs for local people. Mr. Lancaster persisted, “Mr. Hollis, I’ve asked you a question, in relation to shopping need, not regeneration is there a need?” Mr. Hollis could only offer that Kirkby hadn’t had a supermarket for some thirty years.

Mr. Hollis agreed that the scale of the existing town centre would increase by 200% but that the starting position was miniscule. He also conceded that this was a large increase in the existing scale and function but that this was needed to achieve regeneration.

Mr. Lancaster then moved on to question Mr. Hollis about the proposed developments compliance with the Regional Spatial Strategy. Mr. Lancaster asked Mr. Hollis if he believed the Regional Spatial Strategy to be contrary to national guidance and that the Secretary of State would need to decide if it breeched policy if it lifted Kirkby above other centres in neighbouring authorities? Mr. Hollis replied that the Secretary of State would only look at material considerations if it broke with planning policy and that this was only one of four criteria that would be considered.

Mr. Lancaster next asked about Skelmersdale and the possibility that the approval of Destination Kirkby would see an end to Skelmersdale’s own redevelopment plans. Mr. Hollis agreed that if this could be shown then the Secretary of State would need to take a view on which development was the more needed and likely to be delivered. Mr. Hollis agreed that both areas were priority three but that Kirkby’s need was the greater and that Tesco’s ability to deliver was much better than a housing based scheme that under the current conditions would most likely kill it. So that’s the end of the Bellefield and Goodison plans then.

Mr. Hollis finished by stating that the loss in investor confidence in the surrounding authorities centres would pale into insignificance when the effects of the regeneration benefits to Kirkby are applied.

 Post subject: Day 16 – Job Losses Confirmed in Walton
PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:04 pm 
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Friday, 02 January 2009
Day 16 – Job Losses Confirmed in Walton

Mr. Lancaster continued his cross-examination of Mr. Hollis. Mr. Lancaster concentrated on the impact on the St Modwen development at Skelmersdale if Destination Kirkby were to receive approval from the Secretary of State. Mr Hollis suggested that whilst there was little real evidence that Destination Kirkby would have an effect on Skelmersdale, there was a concern, shared by St Modwen, that the economic downturn in the housing market would have a serious effect on a development with a heavy reliance on housing, as in the case of Skelmersdale; he explained that it was unreasonable to suggest that the Kirkby proposal would have a detrimental impact on Skelmersdale.

Mr. Hollis reiterated that the Secretary of State would need to consider which development is the more likely to be delivered, his opinion was that if Kirkby was refused neither would be delivered.

Kirkby and Skelmersdale are of comparable size; both have populations of approximately 40,000. Mr. Hollis agreed that the proposed Tesco store at Kirkby was twice that proposed for Skelmersdale but pointed out that would be the second in that town whilst Kirkby had been without a store for thirty years. Mr. Hollis obviously preferred not to take into account the remoteness of Skelmersdale against the close proximity of Kirkby to major stores at nearby Switch Island, Huyton, Prescot or the existing Somerfield store in the Town Centre when offering this considered opinion.

Mr Lancaster enquired about the impact of Everton relocating from Walton, he asked for the figures that would tell him how many jobs would be lost. Mr Hollis replied, “Using one method you get 137 and by using another you get 301, it depended on which multiplier you use.” Mr Lancaster continued, “So, ONLY 137 jobs lost, from pubs and cafes? Come on, if Everton move tomorrow how many people will lose their livelihoods?” Mr Hollis explained, “Yes some retailers would lose trade but I don’t have the figures.”

Mr Lancaster informed the inspector that the inquiry needed those figures to be supplied; if they weren’t he would be making a submission to the Secretary of State. He explained, “clearly there would be jobs lost, you can’t move a football club and not have an impact on the people who sell food and drink around the ground.”

Anyone wondering why the applicants had continually portrayed Kirkby in such a bad light was given the explanation when, in answer to Mrs Burden’s concerns surrounding the scale of the proposed development in relation to the role and function of a town centre, Mr Hollis explained that, in his opinion, the exceptional circumstances surrounding deprivation and this unique opportunity is made reference to in the Regional Spatial Strategy.

Mr Hollis perhaps pushed his enthusiasm a tad too far when he claimed that the Secretary of State had expressed encouragement for investment in areas with “significant deprivation” Regular readers of this site will remember that in March 2008 the Secretary of State had rejected the inclusion of Key Service Centres in the revised version of the Regional Spatial Strategy, stating:

“In considering proposals and schemes any investment made should be consistent with the scale and function of the centre, should not undermine the vitality and viability of any other centre or result in the creation of unsustainable shopping patterns” and went on to say “There should also be a presumption against large-scale extensions to such facilities unless they are fully justified in line with the sequential approach established in PPS6. There is no justification for such facilities to be designated as town centres within plans and strategies” and “Comparison retailing facilities should be enhanced and encouraged in the following centres to ensure a sustainable distribution of high quality retail facilities.

Altrincham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Barrow-in-Furness,
Birkenhead, Blackburn, Blackpool,
Bolton, Burnley, Bury
Carlisle, Chester, Crewe,
Kendal, Lancaster, Macclesfield,
Northwich, Oldham, Preston,
Rochdale, Southport, St Helens,
Stockport,Warrington, Wigan,
Workington / Whitehaven.
It should be noted that the inclusion of Kirkby in the above list was declined, the Secretary of State went on to say:

“Investment, of an appropriate scale, in centres not identified above will be encouraged in order to maintain and enhance their vitality and viability, including investment to underpin wider regeneration initiatives, to ensure that centres meet the needs of the local community, as identified by Local Authorities. Retail development that supports entrepreneurship, particularly increasing the number of independent retailers, should be supported. There will be a presumption against new out-of-centre regional or sub-regional comparison retailing facilities requiring Local Authorities to be pro-active in identifying and creating opportunities for development within town centres. There should also be a presumption against large-scale extensions to such facilities unless they are fully justified in line with the sequential approach established in PPS6. There is no justification for such facilities to be designated as town centres within plans and strategies.”

Mrs Burden then asked for a clarification on what Mr Hollis was attempting to say in relation to the Regional Spatial Strategy when he suggested a more ambitious approach be taken. Mr Hollis explained that the Secretary of State had made several references to the need to encourage investment in areas of significant deprivation.

Understandably, after reading the above, Mrs Burden has asked that the inquiry be provided with evidence of quantitative need for the scale of this proposed retail development in the township of Kirkby and an impact assessment on the forecast growth in line with the current economic situation.

The inquiry will reconvene on Tuesday 6th January 2009.

 Post subject: ENQUIRY WEEK 4 - DAYS 13-16
PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:17 pm 
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