11/01/2011

One Year On – Call to stop blocking St Athan decision!

One year after the St Athan Public Inquiry, the groups critical of the plans are stepping up pressure on Ieuan Wyn Jones - the Minister responsible for the development – to lift his block on the compulsory purchase (CPO) decision. Robin Gwyndaf of Cymdeithas y Cymod has written seeking a deputation to the Minister on the matter (letter attached).

Chris Franks AM raised it* early in January on behalf of Llanmaes Community Council, when Mr Jones told him they were waiting for the MoD to decide the future of the base and its training facility. Previously the civil servants claimed to Barry & Vale FoE that they required more time because of “complexity” (letter of 17 Nov.) and “complex ramifications” (17 Dec. below).

Opposition groups within the Cynefin y Werin network say the situation is simple – WAG went to the Inquiry for Compulsory Purchase of land said to be ‘necessary in the public interest’ for the combined schemes. Once the MoD decided they would not proceed with the Metrix scheme in the October Defence Review, their case had disappeared. There is now no case for green-field development and the damaging northern access road across peaceful meadows around the Llanmaes brook, argue the Council with Friends of the Earth's support.

* Glamorgan Gem, p.4, 6 January 2011 “Aerospace Business Park still long-term aim of the Assembly”.
** http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/st_athan_defence_technical_colle html

The £5 million went to consultants, publicity and the Public Inquiry (QC and witness costs), authorised on the claim that the aerospace development was complimentary to the Training College. Because of the Red Dragon fiasco, the auditor had told the Welsh Assembly government not to commit spending relating to another MoD project, without guaranteed refund if the MoD pulled out. Yet Ieuan Wyn Jones's department has now lost further millions in the same way.
## http://www.antimetrix.org/2010/12/we-gave-evidence-at-jan-2010-st-athan.htm

The reply to A Freedom of Information Request  – Reference 4606 - for the inspectors report...
from a Mr James Price Head of the Infrastructure Group Department for the Economy & Transport ..
'I refer to my letter of 17 November concerning your request for information regarding the Inspector’s Report on the St Athan CPO. I regret to have to inform you that I am not yet in a position to reply to this request by the specified date of 15 December. The matter is still under consideration and therefore I am unable to let you know at this time one way or the other if the

As Chris Franks reports (Gem 6 January) the size and shape of the aerospace business park would have to change, so any alternative scheme requiring CPOs would need another Inquiry. There is no legal reason for holding up the Inspector's report (completed in March 2010) for the Minister's convenience or embarrassment over the loss of over £5 million**, say Cynefin y Werin (Stephen Thomas). The hold-up appears to be abuse of the separation between planning decision-making and policy decisions##.
 
 Inspector’s Report is to be released immediately. As explained previously, there are complex ramifications resulting from the MoD decision of 19 October which we are trying to understand in addressing your request for early publication of the Report. I recognise that this continuing delay may not accord with the provisions of Environmental Information Regulations 2004. I offer my apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

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