The Water Tower

The Water Tower
The Water Tower at Dusk

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Third Party Representations

Gerry and I have the right to make representation to our third party comments on our planning appeal. Mr Culshaw visited yesterday for the DPEA site assessment and I really don't think he should have to read any more - he must have had enough. I prepared this response but am in 2 minds whether to send it in. At least I can blog it knowing that the relevant people will probably read it.

More interesting for woodland lovers - I was in Dornie last week and looked in at the Balmacara Woodland. It is no longer managed due to lack of funding which is a shame. It still looks fine though at the moment. Woodlands .co . uk had a large sign up stating woodlands for sale! so its not just England. There are many beautiful areas in and around Dornie - even the highly commercial Eilen Donan (spelling? will check later) castle. It lifts the soul to visit this area and it was sunny!!!!! for 4 whole days!!!!!  To my USA friends - you will have to come back and we will keep trying to get a visit to the Highlands in good weather.

Here is my draft letter. Do you think I should just keep it to myself?

Third Party Representations – Response by Mr and Mrs Goldwyre.

1.       Ms Adrienne Findlay and Ms Nichola Lyons. Just to note that neither of these persons made representation to Midlothian Council at the time of the original application. They state that they did. They are related to 2 other persons who did make representation.

2.        Mr Tony Galloway – no comment other than to make clear that the hedge is not planted on a public path. It is planted on our own property. It has recently been damaged. The issues raised by Mr Galloway have nothing to do with planning matters. They are defamatory.

3.       Mr Joseph Tucker. There are no new planning issues raised. He was called by Mr Goldwyre to seek his view because (a) his letter bore a striking similarity with others and (b) we wished to invite him to see the woodland for himself. In order to understand the facts rather than believe that there had been “industrial deforestation”. Other representors were also contacted. No one has ever been bullied.

4.       Mr William Bowie – no relevant planning matters to raise but just to comment on 4 points in the interests of 3rd party comment clarification;

(a)    The helpful suggestion regarding connecting the broken tennis club water pipe to a drain. The pipe is not broken – it doesn’t do what it was designed to do and no water comes through the pipe.

(b)   There are 2 woodland management plans – year 2000 and 2011. Both commissioned and paid for by ourselves.

(c)    The burdens in the feu were never served on the land occupied by the Gazebo. The feu burden notice that was served contained a fundamental error that was made by the server. The complainants concerns belong with the error made by the feu superior. The planning files note that the burdens in the legal disposition cannot be enforced. None of these matters are however relevant to planning and it is shameful that a planning application has been hijacked to document and air these matters in a system that is open to the public allowing widespread dissemination of wrongful information.

(d)   The planning department have never instructed the removal of any viewing platform.

 5.       Mrs Bowie – similarly with Mr Bowie, in the interests of accuracy

(a)    A building warrant was applied for at the correct time.

(b)   Park users could only read our sign on A4 paper if they used a telephoto lens and even then, it might be difficult.

(c)    Photographs of other bin stores and sitting out areas in Eskbank was advised to us by the council. To provide the officer with evidence of similar structures in the area.

(d)   We have never applied to build 3 chalets on the land.

(e)   We also seek to protect the tranquillity of the wooded valley and it is not true that there are lights and noise beyond that of any other dwelling house. If lights or noise are ever an issue we would expect to be contacted by a neighbour or the Police.

6.       Mr Donald Marshall makes claim of the utilitarian structures but we consider that the tennis club fence presents the most utilitarian structure on view to the park users. The structures in this application actually serve to soften that view and will hold climbers such as woodland ivy and woodland clematis in the future. Patience is required. The natural presentation of the valley is not lost.

7.        Mr M Armstrong for the EAS. We have already commented on this letter.  It is clear following the site visit that Mr Armstrong as the representative chairperson, has served to misguide its group of local volunteers and failed to bring a balanced perspective to the planning matters. Some matters are potentially libellous and some are verging on the ridiculous. An example was the woodland matter raised in the face of documented professional opinion from an individual highly respected in his field, Mr Donald Rodger. It beggars belief that another professional could state that the woodland management at water tower wood has compromised the national targets for the expansion and improvement of Scottish native woodlands. The area that water tower wood occupies relative to the entire woodland around Ironmills Park amounts to the equivalent of a pen dot mark on a bath towel. Try expanding that to its relativity to the entire Scottish native woodlands. To state that our sitting out area, paths, fences and woodland works within the whole woodland in some way compromise these national targets shows a complete lack of respect for the management of the woodland, to us as the owners of this woodland and the reports covering its management. Oh that these efforts by the society might be served by reviewing Midlothian Councils woodland management activities instead. And especially when the clearance of large numbers of trees in a nearby woodland in Newbattle was never commented upon by this society, despite the fact that the local community council raised this as a serious potential concern. Not one word emanated from the EAS.

The inconsistency in application of the society’s aims and objectives raises doubts as to the society’s credibility, especially when the society members’ views are not canvassed before some representations are submitted. This is evident from an EAS member who wrote to support our planning application and who effectively recorded “I have never had my views canvassed despite being a member of the group”.

Like the society I am raising matters that are not material to this planning application and for that I apologise. But matters relating to trees and woodland are passionate and cannot be left as one sided. Our aims are to improve this woodland and always have been.

This society has done nothing to consider our woodland activities in the wider context of other AGLVs such as Vogrie Country Park where woodland works of a similar nature are all acceptable in terms of woodland protection and biodiversity.

It is time this society took stock and considered whether or not their intrusion into matters which direct neighbours might understandably have a concern, have served to create disharmony to the point where neighbourly actions to allay fears and mend small issues have been unable to be resolved. They may even have played a part in the demise of a Friends of Ironmills Park group through actions documented in the Councils’ files as “collusion”. We even offered to use mediation services with the EAS through the council and this offer has been refused twice. The actions of the society (or most probably only its committee members) have been instrumental in creating the neighbour disharmony and animosity that has developed as a consequence. They should be ashamed of themselves.

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