Backdale and Longstone Edge
PEAK PARK AND GOVERNMENT
In 2005 with the public inquiry opened a minister visited the area and
amid some publicity pledged money to the planners specifically for the
purpose of funding its fight. This was unprecedented. Peak Park then issued
a stop notice for the first time.
We have since had many more. These affect our ability to work the site
while preparing for the Inquiry and, of course,
our funding for it!
Before the money
was pledged did Peak Park tell Government of the 97 offer of a High Court
it tell Government that the Inspector had already flagged up that the
enforcement notice might be a nullity?
it tell Government of its history of frustrating the ROMP process?
Judicial revue of s.106 agreement (attempt to sterilize minerals). Judge
quoshes s106 and criticizes Peak Park "had not been frank with the
court and had instead proffered through leading counsel a specious
explanation". Peak Park to pay Bleaklow costs again!
April 2007. Planning inspector rejects Peak Park's position
on interpretation of 52 permission but then imports his own novel restriction.
Enforcement and Stop notices at Backdale and Wagers Flat, based on inspectors
February 2008. High Court Judge rejects inspectors decision
as "fundamentally flawed" and "demonstrably unworkable"
remits decision back to Secretary of State. Judge is also asked by all
parties to give declaration of meaning of 52 permission. This corresponds
with position Bleaklow have always held. Secretaryof State to pay Bleaklow
costs! This is exactly the question that Peak Park avoided in 97. All
the waste of time and taxpayers money since then stem from this!
Wagers Flat public Inquiry still to come. Based on what?
2008. Peak Park withdraw the Stop Notices at Backdale and Wagers
Flat-compensation consequences will follow.
2008. Authority withdraws Enforcement Notice at Wagers Flat.
The Inquiry will not now take place but the taxpayer Will have to pay
for all the wasted preparation!
The mineral deposits on Longstone Edge have been worked since before Roman
times. Lead, fluorspar, barytes and limestone have all been won. Large
areas have been mined, holes, heaps and various other features covered
the landscape virtually all of which has been disturbed. In 1952 the land
was, for the first time, subject to a planning permission.
THE PLANNING PERMISSION
Permission was given for "The winning and working of fluorspar and
barytes and for the working of lead and any other minerals which are won
in the course of working these minerals, by turning over old spoil dumps,
by opencast working and by underground mining".
Bleaklow has had one QC throughout since 1997 and we have shown the authority
his opinion of what the permission means. That opinion has not changed.
We say that the permission contains no limitation as to the depth of working,
the quantities of minerals worked or the proportion of minerals worked.
In contrast the Planning Authority has had advice from several QCs. It
has refused to show us any of them so as to convince us that it is right.
It has claimed, variously. That limestone is not a mineral. That only
vein minerals can be won. That any limestone that had to be removed must
be replaced. That limestone removed must be inextricably mixed with the
other minerals. Then that the limestone had to be "ancillary"
to extraction of the named minerals. Its present position is unclear.
THE ROMP (Review of Old Mineral Permissions)
In 1997 an application was made for a review of the 52 permission under
the 95 Environment Act to offer new conditions so as to bring the method
of working up to date. In 1998 after many delays caused by the authority
it determined the application. In 1999 that determination was Quashed
in the High Court, Peak Park admitted it had acted unlawfully, had to
pay all costs and was refused leave to appeal. It said it needed an Environmental
Impact Assessment of the effects of the application. Bleaklow commissioned
an EIA and submitted it in 2000. The planning authority refused to accept
it for petty bureaucratic reasons. We now know those reasons were not
lawful. It then wanted a Traffic Impact Assessment despite the site having
been used for this purpose for 15 years. While this was being done it
entered into a s.106 agreement whose sole purpose was to sterilise the
minerals covered by the ROMP. Taken together the authority has done everything
it can to frustrate a process designed to bring improvement.
The ROMP process
is predicated on the assumption that the planning authority will make
every effort to speed applications through so as to have new conditions
applied to old existing permissions. In this case this has not happened.
From 1988 onwards the planners threatened enforcement action based on
their varied interpretations of the permission. None was served. In 1997
we asked the Authority if it would go to the High Court for a Declaration
so that a Judge would rule on the meaning of the permission and thus clarify
the rights for the ROMP process. They refused. In 2004 it finally issued
an enforcement notice. In 2006 the planning inspectorate ruled that notice
null and void because "The notice is insufficiently clear and unambiguous
on its face to allow the recipients to tell with reasonable certainty
what steps have to be taken to remedy the alleged breach". This was
based not as the planners alleged on some recent ruling but on one from
1963 called Miller-Mead. It has since issued a new enforcement notice
and a Public Inquiry will follow. Meanwhile though it is sure enough of
its position to issue these draconian measures it has asked Bleaklow if
it will go to the High Court for a Declaration nearly 10 years (and an
enormous amount of public money wasted) after it was first asked. Bleaklow
THE CUMULATIVE EFFECT OF THE PLANNERS ACTIONS has been
to produce a more visible mark on the landscape than would otherwise have
happened (see picture above). Even if they succeed with the latest enforcement
this will not be reinstated since the enforcement contains no reinstatement
clause. This to defeat a scheme with better screening from view and a
full modern restoration. If the latest enforcement succeeds it makes further
working in other parts of the permission area more likely. It will have
cost the taxpayer a huge amount of money.