|Urgent Action||15 September 2000|
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On Wednesday 30 August a specially convened Rushmoor planning meeting met to consider the TAG planning application for a Business Airport at Farnborough. The accompanying report was a one-sided uncritical presentation of the TAG material. Even before the meeting had started there was the usual disinformation, dirty tricks and black propaganda from Rushmoor. On the Tuesday, the Farnborough Mail reported that Rushmoor were claiming 500 objections were generated by an emotive BVFoE leaflet which claimed that Rushmoor were in the pocket of TAG. Whether or not Rushmoor are in the pocket of TAG, and it is a commonly accepted belief which the activities of councillors and officials do nothing to dispel, it was not stated in the BVFoE leaflet. The leaflet merely reported what TAG requested and the consequences (lopping of hills, trees, air pollution, environmental damage, number of movements, 80 tonnes etc) the reverse side of which provided information on how to object.
At the start of the meeting Patrick Kirby attempted to have the meeting adjourned on a number of grounds including that it was during the period when the adopted Local Plan was subject to legal challenge, it was summer holidays, promised safety study never carried out etc. All of Kirby's points were rubbished by officials.
John Starling was forced to leave the room. He had received an intimidating letter from the Borough Solicitor the previous day.
The debate concentrated on trivia, cosmetics for the public gallery to give the false impression that councillors were acting for the local community. The only valid point that councillors raised was that the Local Plan had only been agreed within the last few weeks, it set a limit of 50 tonnes, and it was already being breached by the 80 tonne recommendation. This argument was rubbished by officials who did an excellent job acting as agents for TAG. Councillors were told that TAG would accept nothing less than 80 tonnes, and if they did not get their way TAG would walk away. This was greeted by cheers from the public gallery. Councillors complained of blackmail and being forced to take a decision with a gun held to their heads.
The committee voted to recommended acceptance of the TAG application (28,000 movements, 80 tonnes) with referral to the Secretary of State. Only three councillors voted against, two abstained.
Objectors now have three weeks in which to write to the Secretary of State (John Prescott MP) to have the application called-in, ie to call for a public inquiry. Deadline: 26 September 2000.
The main points to raise with Prescott are the one-sided presentation to councillors, the complete absence of the many arguments raised by objectors, the manner in which officials acted to present TAG's case and ignored the local community. Ask Prescott to look at all sides, not just the information being produced by Rushmoor officials. If you still have your original objection to TAG's planning application, please supply Prescott with a copy so that he can see why people are objecting and the failure of Rushmoor to heed those objections.
For detailed coverage of the special planning meeting, the report to the meeting and latest airfield information please see BVEJ newsletter #0004 September 2000. For late breaking news and background information, please see the BVEJ web site.
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