Friday, 12 December 2014

All Over Bar The Waiting

Well that's it. The inspector has been and seen, questioned and heard. The fate of 2-4 Green Lane (and the surrounding area) now rests in his hands and in the evidence we have all presented since the beginning of the Mosque appeal in April.

The people of Worcester Park have certainly done themselves proud. Maple Lodge was packed this morning - on a week day. It was standing room only for many at the back. And this is after the inspector had stated on a previous day that the audience at most inquires tend to peter out after the first few days. We certainly showed him our strength of feeling directly through our presence.

The day opened as usual with the normal bits and pieces of procedural double checking. The appellant's advocate was back again but their planning consultant was not. There were many muttered apologies from the appellant's side for their general unprofessionalism and eventually we got onto the summing up.

Our side spoke first - that is the Council's advocate, who put the case across very well and at one point received a spontaneous applause from the audience, who were told by the inspector that this was not appropriate.

Then the other advocate summed up the appellant's case. Several points were challenged by our side, particularly regarding the what some may describe as misleading language being used. For instance, it was claimed that we had conceded several points when the reality was that these were points that we had never disputed.

After all of this came the outline of costs that each side would want to claim - hopefully the council will be awarded the full costs which are being asked for. And then there came the site visit.

A small group of us walked briefly around Maple Lodge and up Green Lane to the school and then down Green Lane. We wandered past the site, having a quick look at the proposed bicycle parking area and down to the station. I suggested we walk over the new footbridge so the inspector could get a better view of the overall area from the top.

I would like to go into more detail about what was discussed and noted, however at this point it may be considered prejudicial to the case so I must keep schtum for the moment.

We walked back up Central Road and into Stone Place car park - packed as usual. Then out into Windsor Road and back down Central Road to the site, while taking a quick look at the side streets on the way down.

We were met at the site by one of the appellants - the gentleman who had spoken for them at the previous hearing day. We had a look through the building and then around the outside including the garage and then at the residence next door.

That really drew it to a close with the inspector choosing to walk by himself up Longfellow Road to get back to Maple Lodge.

Now we must wait for the official decision which will certainly not come before the new year.

I feel we have all, as in the whole community, worked very hard to make our case. No mater what the outcome I don't know what more we could have done. I just hope, as I'm sure most people reading this do, that the inspector makes the right decision that the vast majority of the community clearly want.

Now we wait.