It opened at 9.30. Mel Morris was still being cross examined by Rupert Warren QC and that continued for another hour and twenty minutes with much discussion about the significance of the heritage assets involved in this case- the Hall, the Registered Park and Garden and the Conservation Area- and their settings. A continuing theme for the day was the importance of the Derby Screen- a row of trees which obscures views of the Hall from the appeal sites and Kedleston Road and vice versa.
After Mel it was the turn of Derek Stafford to be cross examined on a wide range of planning matters including various policies in the 2006 Local Plan, paragraphs in the National Planning Policy Framework, the history of the now withdrawn Core Strategy and the likelihood of the new Local Plan being completed by 2018 which is the new target date set by AVBC. Derek confirmed that AVBC was keeping CLG informed of progress given that 2018 is a year later than the government has indicated it wants all Local Plans to be adopted. He was on the witness stand for an hour and twenty minutes before lunch and nearly two hours after it.
Then it was our turn. Jack Smyth introduced Christopher Gallagher, our first witness who had provided a proof on historic landscapes, and has extensive knowledge of Kedleston Hall and its grounds because of his work there for the National Trust. He has also worked on many other significant projects.
One of the issues explored was whether or not the design of the grounds of Kedleston Hall was intended to be an inward looking approach or one that looked outward. Catesby’s proofs suggest it was the former in an attempt to minimise the relationship between the appeal sites and the Hall. Chris, with Mel Morris and David Hickie, takes the latter view which is important to our case because it strengthens the importance of the appeal sites to the setting of the Hall even though the two are not intervisible because of the Derby Screen. He was cross examined for nearly an hour.
Tomorrow we are likely to have all three of our witnesses giving evidence starting again at 9.30. Firstly there will be Stephen Levrant our heritage expert then Neil Benison from the firm Mewies Engineering Consultants who has produced a proof on aspects of the highways situation. Finally Peter Steer from the KV specialists group will speak on three papers relating to the T-junction on Kedleston Road for the 195 dwelling application, foul drainage and surface water.
A pleasing feature of today was that one local resident registered with the Inspector to speak on the increased use of Kedleston Road by hgvs on Tuesday 27th July. There is still the opportunity for anyone with specific concerns to speak at the Inquiry. Anyone wishing to do so, however, should produce a brief written note of what they intend to say for the Inspector. It would be normal for copies to be available for the three main parties too but that is something KV can organise at the Inquiry. Our specialist committee can also help with the wording of statements if that would be helpful.