In 2016, an outline planning application was submitted for development at Peel Hall by Satnam Millennium Ltd.

The new public inquiry into Peel Hall will be fully virtual and commence on 14 September 2020, the FAQs below provide further detail on the Inquiry process and how to take part. A copy of the notice notifying residents of the Inquiry is available here

Public Inquiry - Core Documents
APN Core Documents
APN Core Documents
APP Core Documents
CF Core Documents
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OD Core Documents

OD33 - Podcast of WBC DMC Meeting 1 July 2020

It proposed a mixed use neighbourhood comprising:

  • up to 1,200 homes
  • residential care home
  • a local centre, including a food store
  • financial & professional services
  • restaurants, cafes, a family restaurant/pub, hot food takeaways and drinking establishments
  • employment uses
  • primary school
  • open space including sports pitches with ancillary facilities

In 2017, Warrington’s Development Management Committee refused the application.

In 2018, developer Satnam Millennium Ltd, appealed against the decision. Satnam’s appeal was dismissed by the Secretary of State. However, in October 2019, the High Court overturned the decision.

This means that a new public inquiry into Peel Hall will be held, with a different inspector.

FAQs

Why is the Public Inquiry taking place?

The Council’s decision to refuse application 2016/28492 was appealed by Satnam Millennium Ltd and considered at a public inquiry held between April – July 2018. The appeal was recovered by the Secretary of State for decision, therefore the Inspector submitted his recommendations in a report to the Secretary of State. 

The Secretary of State’s decision to dismiss the appeal was challenged through the High Court by Satnam Millennium Ltd. The legal challenge was allowed by the High Court in Oct 2019 and the Court has ordered that the appeal be re-determined with a different inspector.

This does not necessarily mean that the Secretary of State will reach a different overall decision.

What is the Planning Inspectorate’s role?

Planning appeals are managed and determined by the Planning Inspectorate. The Planning Inspectorate is an executive agency sponsored by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.

The Planning Inspectorate deals with planning appeals, national infrastructure planning applications, examinations of local plans and other planning-related and specialist casework in England and Wales. The Planning Inspectorate's job is to make decisions and provide recommendations and advice on a range of land use planning-related issues across England and Wales.

The appeal process lets the Planning Inspectorate consider all the material planning considerations that are relevant to the case, and from all parties, including from the local planning authority, the applicant and from those who might have made representations on the application.

There is a strict process and timeframe for the submission and processing of appeals. In this instance the appeal has been recovered by the Secretary of State.

What is a recovered appeal?

Planning appeals can also be ‘recovered’ for decision by ministers. A recovered appeal is one where instead of an inspector making the decision, he or she will write a report that will make a recommendation on how the appeal should be determined. This will then be passed to the Secretary of State to make the decision, taking into account the inspector’s recommendation.

What is the status of the appeal?

The inquiry has been re-opened.

What new information has been submitted?

Satnam Millennium Ltd have submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment addendum 2 and a revised Transport Assessment. This is available on the Council website dedicated EIA development page or on the Planning application search page for application ref 2016/28492.

Has the appeal proposal changed since the last inquiry?

The description of development has been amended to remove the proposed employment uses from the scheme, and an updated parameter plan has been submitted to reflect this.

What is the council's role in the proceedings?

The Council is a main party in the appeal and will present evidence to the inquiry.

What is the council's position?

On 1 July 2020, Development Management Committee (DMC) considered a report regarding the Council’s case in defending the appeal and preparing evidence for the inquiry in light of the new information submitted by the appellant and accepted for consideration by the Planning Inspectorate.

DMC resolved to continue to robustly defend the appeal on highway grounds.

What is a Rule 6 Party and what is their role?

Rule 6 status under The Town and Country Planning (Inquiries Procedure) (England) Rules 2000 has been granted to the Peel Hall Campaign Group and they will therefore have an active part in the inquiry as one of the main parties alongside the Council and the appellant.

I made comments on the original application (considered at the 2018 inquiry) – will they be considered?

Any comments you may have made at application stage or when the appeal was first determined will be considered by the different Inspector and Secretary of State.

What do I do if I want to make further comments?

The deadline for making additional comments to the Planning Inspectorate was 25 June. However, additional comments may still be accepted. It will be at the discretion of the Planning Inspectorate whether or not they accept any comments received after 25 June.

Comments should be sent to:

The Planning Inspectorate, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6PN

Or by E-mail to HELEN.SKINNER@planninginspectorate.gov.uk

All representations must quote the appeal reference APP/M0655/W/17/3178530.

When will the Public Inquiry take place?

The inquiry is programmed for Monday 14 September – Friday 25 September and will also sit on 28 and 29 September if these two additional days are required.

The inquiry will open at 9.30am each day.

What is a virtual inquiry?

The Planning Inspectorate advised on 2 June 2020 that a conventional face-to-face inquiry is not possible under current social distancing restrictions and it seems likely that this situation will not change for a considerable period of time. The Council has written to the Planning Inspectorate, setting out its opposition to the Inquiry being held in a virtual format. Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all inquiry participants is of paramount importance to the Planning Inspectorate. The Government’s Ministerial Statement (13/5/20) (WMS) makes clear that the Government expects everyone involved in the planning process to engage proactively and that virtual inquiries are now the default position other than in exceptional circumstances.

The Rule 6 Party, Save Peel Hall Campaign Group, have also expressed serious  concerns regarding a virtual inquiry and that a physical inquiry is the preferred option.

On 7 July 2020, the Inspector confirmed that she is satisfied that virtual inquiries can be run successfully and would meet all legal obligations.

In the letter, it is stated that the Inspector is aware that this is a controversial proposal that has a long planning history. She understands that there are many local people opposed to the scheme. However, she does not agree that a virtual event would not allow people to participate either by giving their views to the Inspector, asking questions of the appellant’s witnesses or observing the event.

The Inspector goes on to state that people can participate in a number of ways, including by telephone. They do not need to be digitally accomplished and there is much less risk of excluding interested people. The Minister has pointed out that it will actually enable people to participate more easily because they can do so from their own homes. She states that although things are having to be done differently in response to changed circumstances, there is no reason why members of the public should be disadvantaged or why the process should not be open, transparent and fair.

The Council has again written to the Planning Inspectorate, expressing its concern that the public will be disadvantaged by holding the enquiry in a virtual format.

Despite the Council’s assertions regarding the need for a physical inquiry, the decision was taken by the Planning Inspectorate for the inquiry to be fully virtual.

What are the practical arrangements for a virtual inquiry?

The Planning Inspectorate is using Microsoft Teams as the platform that will enable people to participate remotely. It can be accessed by a link in an email invitation through a laptop, tablet, computer or smartphone or by dialling in via a given phone number. The Inquiry will be subject to the same Rules and Regulations as conventional face-to-face inquiries.

To further assist the Inspector will be arranging a test event for the main parties (including witnesses) in the week before the inquiry. This will allow them to try out the access arrangements using the technology and hopefully iron out any issues that might arise.

Anyone wishing to attend the inquiry must make that interest known to the Planning Inspectorate Case Officer Helen Skinner (Tel: 0303 444 5531.  Email: helen.skinner@planninginspectorate.gov.uk) as soon as possible prior to the Inquiry, either by email or telephone after reading the Inquiry Attendance Information set out below.  When contacting the Case Officer, it would be helpful if you could confirm whether you want to take an active part in the proceedings or anticipate attending just as an observer (see below).   

Inquiry Attendance Information  

Before deciding whether to take an active part in the Inquiry, you need to think carefully about the points you wish to make.  All written submissions from application and appeal stage will be taken into account by the Inspector and re-stating the same points won’t add any additional weight to them.  

If you feel that taking part in the Inquiry is right for you in whatever capacity, you can participate in a number of ways:  

To take part using video, participants will need to have access to Microsoft Teams (via an app or web browser). This link gives further information on how to use this. https://support.office.com/en-us/teams.  Alternatively you can take part by telephone.  Calls would be to an 020 number which will incur charges.  https://www.gov.uk/call-charges

If you just wish to observe the event, you should make that clear in your response to the Case Officer.   

If you wish to take an active part in the proceedings, please make clear in your response whether you wish only to appear at the Inquiry and make a statement, or whether you would also wish to ask questions on particular topics. If you want to take an active part but feel unable to for any reason, and/or the points you want to make are not covered in the evidence of others, consider whether someone else could raise them on your behalf  

Registered participants in whatever capacity will receive individual joining instructions, providing details of any requirements, guidance and support, whether joining by Teams or telephone. You should note that the event will be recorded by the Planning Inspectorate for training and quality assurance purposes.    

Case Officer contact at the Planning Inspectorate: 

Helen Skinner, Tel: 0303 444 5531.  Email: helen.skinner@planninginspectorate.gov.uk

Will the inspector visit the site?

The Inspector will make an unaccompanied visit to the site and surrounding area in advance of the inquiry and, if necessary, after its close. The main parties have been asked to provide an itinerary (with a map) to indicate particular places that they would like her to visit.

What is the Inquiry timetable?

In terms of running order, the formal evidence will be heard on a case-by-case basis. The Council will present its evidence first, followed by the Rule 6 Party and finally the appellant.

A dedicated session will be arranged to hear members of the public (third parties) on Friday 18 September, commencing at 9.30am.

It is encouraged that any written statements from third parties speaking on this day should be handed into the inquiry in advance.

The Inspector will issue a draft programme following receipt of the final timings from the main parties, in due course.

  • Wed 16 September - the order of hydrology & drainage and amenity space have been swapped -  so that amenity is now in the morning and Hydrology in the afternoon
  • Thurs 17 September - Noise will not be dealt with and conditions and planning obligations is brought forward, with a further session will probably be necessary later in the inquiry.

Further information from the Planning Inspectorate is awaited and these FAQ’s will be updated as soon as information is received.