The Environment Agency is about to start work on the Salmos Brook Flood Alleviation Project in Cheyne Park, on Wedensday February 20th, according to a newsletter that the EA sent to various Enfield councillors and council officials but NOT to the local residents of Grange Park. This letter written by a local resident to the Planning Department and the Environment Agency explains how they are defaulting on their legal obligations.
"It is my understanding that Planning Consent was given by the Council to the above scheme on 7 February and I have now had an opportunity to scrutinise the formal notice online. This gives rise to certain issues, as follows:-
1. I was under the impression that the Council have a responsibility to advise stakeholders, particularly those residents who responded as part of the consultation process, of the outcome of the planning application. This does not appear to have happened and it brings into question as how you propose to communicate the conditions attached to the planning consent. These are of great interest and importance to local residents who will be seriously affected over an extended period by the proposed works and the associated traffic movements through the local roads. It is vital that the Environment Agency are held to account for the conditions imposed upon them in the planning consent and residents should be made aware of them.
2. There are several conditions which need to be fulfilled before work can commence on site including the obligation in Condition 22 to give 28 days notice of the commencement of any site works to all occupiers adjacent to the site. The EA have prepared a Newsletter (dated February), available online but not as yet distributed to local residents, which states that site clearance works, including tree removal, will commence on 20 February. Clearly, they seem comfortable in commencing these works without giving 28 days notice as they state that these works are permitted development and, by inference, do not fall within the scope of the planning consent for the scheme as a whole. This displays a degree of arrogance on the part of the Environment Agency and perhaps gives an indication of how they propose to treat local residents during the progress of the scheme. The operative words in the planning consent are “any site works” and it is my view that these words mean just that, irrespective of whether or not there is a convenient legal technicality which lets the Environment Agency off the hook for complying with the spirit of the conditions imposed. Would it not be unreasonable to expect them to have a duty of care to engage with stakeholders and residents and a moral obligation to give 28 days notice, apart from relying on a strict interpretation of the conditions imposed by the Council?
3. A further relevant point is that it would be reasonable to assume that there will be considerable vehicular movements to and from Enfield Golf Course/Cheyne Walk Open Space via the local estate roads during the site clearance works. Will these works be bound by the several conditions imposed in the Planning Consent relating to the movement of traffic to and from the site? Or are the Environment Agency relying again on their permitted development powers to absolve themselves from any responsibility in this respect?
4. Would the Council have any powers, either as Planning Authority or landowners, to delay the implementation of the site clearance works until such time as the Environment Agency have given reasonable and proper notice to residents of their intended works?
Having regard to the sensitivity of this scheme and the previous concerns raised by local residents in the Grange Park area, the Environment Agency have got off to a bad start on this scheme which does not bode well for the future. I would welcome your comments, please, on the issues I have raised".
AB, Grange Park Resident
Yet again Grange Park residents are being kept int he dark about issues which haev a major impact on their lives and our local habit.
Read the Environment Agency's February 2013 newsletter here