Thank you for taking the time to contact the Council with regard to the unauthorised encampment at Blackbrook which occurred over the bank holiday weekend.
This was clearly a very well co-ordinated operation with a planning application being submitted to the Council on Friday with work commencing shortly thereafter. It is now clear from the date of some of the reports that accompanied the application that this scheme had been planned well before the bank holiday and with no consultation or engagement with the Council before proceeding.
As an absolute priority we are now reacting to this effort to circumvent the planning process. Please be assured that we will use every legal power available to the Council to pursue this matter and in doing so we will follow the necessary steps to ensure our work cannot be undone at a later date through any legal challenges the developers of this site may wish to mount. To this end, we have today secured an injunction to prevent any escalation of current planning breaches, for example by increasing either the scale of development or the number of occupants.
As you may be aware, this site has some planning history in the form of the withdrawn planning application in 2018 (reference 18/00491/FUL) and the refused 2019 application (reference 19/00332/FUL). We will be looking at how this new application addresses our earlier concerns relating to its isolated location away from key services, impact on highway safety, impact on a critical groundwater source and the impact from the noise of the nearby pumping station together with other concerns raised in the consultation process. We are actively engaging with Severn Trent about this particular aspect of the breach.
For clarity, I can confirm that this site lies outside of the Green Belt which ends at the railway line running through Baldwins Gate and is within land identified in the Local Plan as open countryside.
We are now commencing consultation on the planning application and will get the application before members of the Planning Committee at the earliest opportunity to ensure that a lawful decision is made as soon as possible.