Phil Owen (66) and Bob Walsh (69) are finalising their preparations for the Minorca Opencast Protest Group’s Petition Trek to Leicestershire County Hall from Swepstone Church on Thursday June 17th starting at 7.00 am. Meanwhile Steve Leary, MOPG’s Spokesperson is preparing what he will say in support of the petition to Leicestershire County Council at the meeting of its Development Control and Regulatory Board if invited to do so.
The purpose of the petition is to explain why local people feel aggrieved that it is taking so long for a decision to be made on UK Coal’s Minorca Application for an opencast mine on a site between Measham and Swepstone. The full text of the petition reads:
“We the undersigned, being local residents affected by the Application, request that Leicestershire County Council's Development Control and Regulatory Board should determine the Application on July 15th 2010. It will then be over one year since the Application was made and twenty months since UK Coal plc's pre-application Public Consultations, since when we have been required to advise any prospective purchaser of our property of UK Coal's intention. Since September 2008 we have suffered anxiety and hardship, in particular due to the blight to our properties' values and their saleability. In our opinion it is unfair to allow this uncertainty over this planning application to continue further.”
MOPG is therefore pressing LCC not to defer making a decision on this application for a seventh time.
Phil and Bob will be carrying with them the hopes of the over 450 people who have so far signed the petition. Some more sheets with signatures on them still have to be returned so this number could increase. They hope to cover the distance by 1.00pm to give them good time to eat and recover from the walk prior to 2.00pm when the meeting starts.
If invited to speak, Steve Leary will say that by July 3rd local people will have been waiting for a year for a decision. In addition he would like to indicate that in March 2010 MOPG wrote to UK Coal asking for an apology for the delay and for a submission date for when the application would be completed. As yet, however no apology has been received and so submission date indicated.
Further he would also like to explain that were it MOPG applying for planning permission and no decision had been reached on the application by LCC after a year, that we would have the right to appeal to the Secretary of State for a Public Inquiry into the ‘Non Determination’ of the application. As the objector however, we have no such right.
Lastly he would go on to say
“All we can do is act as our forebears would have done if they felt that they had suffered a grievous injustice by petitioning their lords and masters to right a wrong. Times may have changed in that you are now our elected ‘lords and masters’ in this matter. However, you do have the power to deal with our grievance by listening to and acting on our petition.”
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Bob Walsh and Phil Owen are happy to be interviewed about the petition and why they are willing to deliver it in person to Leicestershire County Hall by walking the 15 miles or from Swepstone Church on the 17th June 2010.
However, more general questions about MOPG and its opposition to UK Coal’s planning application should be addressed to MOPG’s Spokesperson, Steve Leary.
On the 17th you will be able to keep in touch with developments by contacting Steve Leary via this number 077 11510215.
OTHERWISE, FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS PRESS RELEASE CONTACT:
STEVE LEARY, SPOKESPERSON, MOPG
4 GREENFIELD ROAD, MEASHAM, SWADLINCOTE, DERBYSHIRE DE12 7LB,
tel 05601 767981,