Wrexham Energy Centre

Enquiry received via email

Wrexham Energy Centre

Stephen Whitby


E-mail to the Planning Inspectorate from Mr Stephen Whitby:
Thank you for your reply which I will study and reply to in full. There is one aspect of which I would welcome some explanation that stands out as particularly confusing in regard to the statement on page 3 repeated in italics below.
Wrexham Power Ltd?s application for authorisation under Section 53 was made on 2 April 2013. The application refers to the Planning Inspectorate?s Advice Note 5 (April 2012) (?AN5?), which provides advice on the process followed by the Secretary of State in determining a Section 53 authorisation request. AN5 refers to Fees Guidance produced in February 2010 by DCLG, which includes the guidance that requests under section 53 should only be made ?as a last resort?.
However, as recorded in the Recommendation Reports relating to each land parcel, the DCLG Fees Guidance was updated in June 2013, after the application had been submitted. It no longer makes reference to applications being made ?as a last resort?.
In simple terms the facts are:
Landowners received a copy of Advice note 5, version 3 dated April 2012 supplied to them by Wrexham Power.
On page 6 section 10 in the second column 2nd paragraph is the statement that the Guidance states that requests under s.53 should only be made "as a last resort". The "Guidance" referred to being that relating to fees by the DCLG that you refer to.
The point that keeps being overlooked is; that at the time when people made decisions, and spent money, the Advice Note 5 was still current. In fact it still is. If something is changed at a later date, ie June being two months after April, that is not fair or reasonable, (the fact that the change was not only later, but in separate document on fees and is of no relevance to the landowners is yet another factor.)
Can you please advise me who made this change, a Minister, Secretary of State or the Planning Inspectorate, and was it intended to be applied retrospectively?
The PI website shows an Advice Note Change Register with Advice notes 3 and 7 having changes on 25 July 2013, previous changes are in April to Advice Note 6, no changes are shown to Advice Note 5 yet you advise that it has been incorrect since June.
People are saying to me that we can only work with the data we have, and that if the practice of the PI is to amend Advice Notes after decisions are made, that there is no point to the consultation requirements of the Planning Act. As consultation is a fundamental requirement of the Act, we cannot just "let this go". For example what future changes may be introduced to Advice Notes 14 and 16 in order that the woefully inadequate consultation by Wrexham Power is deemed to meet a revised (lower) threshold. Many people tell me that Wrexham Power are just paying lip service to consolation through their PR company "Local Dialogue"
For clarity am I correct to assume that when you state on page 2 that between 19 July 2012 to 18 July 2013, the Planning Inspectorate received 18 requests for authorisations under Section 53 of the Planning Act. Of these, 6 are yet to be determined, 2 have been withdrawn and 10 have been granted, that of the 10 granted that 7 relate to the Wrexham Power applications?
I still await a response to the e-mail of 19 June sent to Ms Williams at her request with letters from Wrexham Power and Susan Jones MP

Cyngor a roddwyd

Response from the Planning Inspectorate attached:

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