THE controversial Peel Hall Public Inquiry was officially adjourned yesterday (Tuesday) leaving campaigners ‘up in the air’ until the proceedings reopen next year.
The long-running saga into the future of what is claimed to be the last natural green space in north Warrington will now reopen in March 2021.
Campaigners now face months of waiting until the inquiry resumes on Tuesday, March 9th, 2021. The delay centres around traffic survey anomalies submitted by landowner Satnam Millennium Ltd. These are in relation to assessments connected to VISSIM traffic modelling which were discovered just before the inquiry reopened on September 14th. Landowner Satnam has been given a backstop deadline of December 14th to recalibrate and to produce its new information. The inquiry inspector Christina Downes issued ‘strict instruction’ that the deadline must be adhered to give other parties sufficient time to digest the new data before the inquiry reopens.
On Monday, campaigner Jim Sullivan, presented Rule 6 Party’s submissions on Air Quality. He warned the Inspector that residents living near the site are already suffering as a direct result of poor air quality and urged her to keep this issue at the forefront of her mind throughout the inquiry process.
He told the inquiry: “The site at Peel Hall is at the intersection of two Air Quality Management Areas. These are areas which breach the World Health Organisation international guidelines for concentrations of harmful particulates and/or gases. This is an unusually sensitive site. Several existing homes already fall within one of the AQMA areas, with many families currently living in or very close to the ‘red zone’, that is locations that currently breach the WHO threshold for dangerous levels of air pollution.”
He went on to explain that the current levels of poor air quality were already documented as having an impact upon the health of residents and he paid particular reference to the area of Poplars and Hulme that lies adjacent to the proposed development site.
He cast doubts over-assessments compiled by consultants acting on behalf of Satnam adding: “The appellant’s claim that impact on air quality would be ‘negligible’ is therefore unproven, given the weaknesses in the traffic modelling.”
He told the inquiry that people are already dying prematurely as a consequence of living in areas with poor air quality and this should be seriously noted locally where ‘any small increase’ in air quality would further impact residents’ health.
On announcing the inquiry adjournment Ms Downes thanked all parties and participants for their cooperation ‘held in good spirits’ and that, whilst she had to part-produce an inquiry report, she ‘looked forward’ to the work to be done ahead.