M54 to M6 Link Road

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

M54 to M6 Link Road

Received 18 May 2020
From Bagshaws LLP on behalf of Messrs I & A Simkin

Representation

Ian and Adrian Simkin are owners of interests in land which the applicant seeks to acquire by compulsion. Messrs Simkin are an interested party falling within the definition set out at section 102(1)(aa) of the Planning Act 2008. Objection: The permanent acquisition of plots 5/26, 5/27 and 6/25 for environmental mitigation is objected to, as the comprises an arable field parcel of Land Classification Grade 3a. The loss of good quality agricultural land is contrary to scheme guidelines and the NPPF. The permanent acquisition of plots 5/26, 5/27, 6/25 and 6/23 for environmental mitigation is objected to as it is considered excessive for the offsetting of only approximately 0.79 ha of arable land being taken for the road construction and we do not accept that the extent of the land proposed to be taken for mitigation, at 3.504 ha, is necessary and proportionate for environmental mitigation. It is considered that the extent of land taken for mitigation puts an excessive burden upon Messrs Simkin and that the mitigation should be reduced or located elsewhere. Messrs Simkin object to the acquisition of 6/23 where there is the proposed acquisition of the entire road frontage of the field parcel along the A460 with no provision for access and turning agricultural vehicles or for any other future uses. Messrs Simkin object to the acquisition of plot 6/31, for the provision of a bridleway, Saredon BW13. As part of the Environmental Statement (ES), the 2017 walking, cycling and horse riding (WCH) survey results showed no recorded users of this particular public right of way for the duration of the data collection period (Environmental Statement Chapter 12 [TR010054/APP/6.1]). The Environmental Statement Chapter 2 [TR010054/APP/6.1] sets out that the Environmental Masterplan includes measures to ‘ensure the connectivity of PRoW and other routes used by pedestrians and cyclists are maintained’, this is in opposition with the survey results. The route, Saredon BW13 is not used, as evidenced in Chapter 12 of the ES and therefore should be removed, as opposed to realigned, as part of The Scheme. The bridleway reaches a dead end at the southern end of 6/31 and does not offer any connectivity. Messrs Simkin object to the acquisition of plots 6/29 and 6/30 as we consider them to be surplus to the scheme and they are not being acquired for the development, or incidental to, the construction of the highway. They are situated to the Eastern side of the hedge from the highway and upon reference to the Works Plans will not be impacted by, or necessary for, the scheme. A narrow strip of land will be acquired for species rich grassland Environmental Mitigation which will be impractical (and virtually impossible) to manage on an ongoing basis. Previous Representation: On behalf of Messrs Simkin, Bagshaws LLP previously responded to Highways England on the 28th January 2020 following a meeting on 2nd December 2019. Permanent acquisition of plots 5/26, 5/27 and 6/25 was formally objected to in our response. The area comprises a grade 3a arable field parcel which we continue to request retaining. Additionally, we previously objected completely to the acquisition of plot 6/31 for the provision of a bridleway, Saredon BW13, which terminates at M6 Junction 11. It is not used, and has been unused for many years, it is considered dangerous and therefore, we feel unnecessary to be reinstated within the road scheme, especially as the increased road noise and proximity to traffic will not be expected to increase its use. No evidence has been provided to justify the acquisition of these rights. Losses to the Business: 1. The loss of land represents a significant loss to Messrs Simkin’s farming business, with the land representing nearly 8% of their arable land across their holding. 2. Acquisition of plots 6/23, 6/31 and 6/37, will negate the ability of the remaining field area to be used for arable production. Following commencement of the scheme works, this field may be only suitable for grazing due to the significant reduction of the field parcel and creation of an unworkable shape for arable operations. 3. If permanent acquisition of plots 5/26, 5/27 and 6/25 is pursued by HE then due to the number of approaches received by Messrs Simkin from developers interested in this land, compensation would be sought to claim hope value for development which brings into question the cost of the proposal to use this land for environmental mitigation. Proposal: If it is held that land has to be taken for environmental mitigation, then we would welcome the opportunity to discuss terms of the retention of the freehold, but subject to a management agreement for the management of the land in an environmentally beneficial way to help satisfy environmental mitigation requirements of the scheme.