Controversial plans to open a clay pigeon shooting club rumble on

Warrington Guardian: Inquiry held at Town Hall Inquiry held at Town Hall

THERE were sighs of frustration when a controversial inquiry into a planning application to open a clay pigeon shooting club close to Risley Moss was adjourned until next year.

The three day planning inquiry was due to finish on Thursday at the Town Hall but the planning inspector was forced to add further dates in January after cross-examination and questioning took longer than expected.

This has come as a devastating blow to residents, who have been campaigning against the proposal since the planning application was submitted in 2011.

Prospect Target Club is seeking planning permission to open the shooting facilities at Prospect Farm on Prospect Lane after the application was turned down by Warrington Borough Council planning committee in February.

Speaking on the third day of the inquiry, Clr Russ Bowden, who strongly opposes the plan, called the appellant’s plans as ‘wholly inappropriate’, stating that there was ‘no clear and demonstrable need for these facilities’.

He added that the appellant’s argument that the noise would not be a nuisance or cause harm was ‘flawed logic’.

He argued that a bird survey by the appellant had been conducted at the wrong time and that ‘any gun club would cause significant and permanent damage to Risley Moss’ and a number of protective bird species.

Deborah Copsey, of Holly Bush Lane, felt optimistic after three days of cross examination and evidence.

She said: “I have lived here all my life and I am the fifth generation of my family to do so. I care and am passionate about the area.

“There is a tranquillity that I have always enjoyed about living here and that will be destroyed if they are given permission to open it.”

Geoff Settle, chairman of the Warrington Nature Conservation Forum, claims the appellant is unaware of the ‘destructive impact’ the shooting club will have because they do not have any ‘local knowledge of the area’.

He added: “I would suggest that you also need the day to day knowledge and life experience to appreciate the significance of the area to the community and how important it is to protect and not destroy what exists.”

The inquiry will resume on January 14 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Comments (1)

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1:04pm Sun 8 Dec 13

Geoff Settle says...

After a very slow and methodical start the Inquiry into the Prospect Farm Shooting Club livened up on what should have been the 3rd and final day of the Inquiry.
As Chair of Warrington Nature Conservation Forum I am one of 8 members of the public who want to speak against the appeal. None of us are used to facing an advocate and we were apprehensive from what we had already seen. The language is strange and questions are leading and can disorientate. While this may have been the case those who took the stand did very well.
Debbie Copsey went first and the Inspector Martin Joyce complemented her on the fantastic behaviour of her 4 week old son Jack. Baby Jack had been with her throughout the hearing and only made an occasional gurgle.
Mrs Copsey spoke as a resident and drew attention to access rights. She refuted the appellants claim that he could stop people going down the parts of Holly Bush Lane that lead to the railway, by presenting copies of her deeds which go back to before 1916. She also brought photographs showing the waste material from the demolition of Levershulme High School that was used to construct a track and car park. This involved at least 50 lorry loads trundling down the narrow country track that she used to walk daily with her baby daughter and dog. She said that she hopes to do the same with Jack in the same pleasant and quite environment and not with the addition of a playground as described by the Chair of the BASC in his evidence. Apparently he appeared to be arguing that as nobody else wanted one on their doorstep the Warrington Greenfield was ideal for such a development!!
Debbie stood her ground and made her points very well as did Rob Smith. Rob is an experience Bird Recorder for Risley Moss with 30 years’ experience. He may not have the professional qualification required by the appellant’s advocate but he does have the data records, reports and detailed knowledge of the SSSI and had produced 3 of the reports that they cited as crucial evidence so he was an expert in their eyes . They just chose to interpret the evidence in a different way and hopefully the inspector has seen through their smoke and mirrors.
Rob is also the author of ‘Birds of Risley Moss. In the preface he writes that the idea was bring the “information together to serve as a guide as a reference guide to the range of birds found on the reserve over the years and to why avian ecology is an important element of the SSSI status” something that the ecology expert of the appellant was attempting to diminish.
Like Debbie Rob lives in the area, made a big impact with his evidence that could be substantiated and held it together under questioning. I just hope that I can do justice to the trust that the WNCF members have put in me when I take the stand.
The remaining speakers on the day, Margaret, Russell and Bill made other worthwhile contributions, disputing statistical analysis of two guns firing at once, market research as well as highlighting the recent important status of Rixton Moss which is now a Local Wildlife Site by Cheshire Wildlife Trust. The appellant’s side knew nothing about this and in fact attempted to dispute this fact. The status was awarded in April 2013 and further adds to the weight of evidence of how important this area of Warrington’s is to wildlife and conservation.
There is the old phrase a game of two halves. Following a painfully slow first half the 2nd half resumes next year on January 14th at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in the Platinum suite with everything still to play for and anyone who wants to speak can turn up at 10am and do so.
More details can be found on ther Facebook Site "SAY NO to Rixton Shooting Club".
After a very slow and methodical start the Inquiry into the Prospect Farm Shooting Club livened up on what should have been the 3rd and final day of the Inquiry. As Chair of Warrington Nature Conservation Forum I am one of 8 members of the public who want to speak against the appeal. None of us are used to facing an advocate and we were apprehensive from what we had already seen. The language is strange and questions are leading and can disorientate. While this may have been the case those who took the stand did very well. Debbie Copsey went first and the Inspector Martin Joyce complemented her on the fantastic behaviour of her 4 week old son Jack. Baby Jack had been with her throughout the hearing and only made an occasional gurgle. Mrs Copsey spoke as a resident and drew attention to access rights. She refuted the appellants claim that he could stop people going down the parts of Holly Bush Lane that lead to the railway, by presenting copies of her deeds which go back to before 1916. She also brought photographs showing the waste material from the demolition of Levershulme High School that was used to construct a track and car park. This involved at least 50 lorry loads trundling down the narrow country track that she used to walk daily with her baby daughter and dog. She said that she hopes to do the same with Jack in the same pleasant and quite environment and not with the addition of a playground as described by the Chair of the BASC in his evidence. Apparently he appeared to be arguing that as nobody else wanted one on their doorstep the Warrington Greenfield was ideal for such a development!! Debbie stood her ground and made her points very well as did Rob Smith. Rob is an experience Bird Recorder for Risley Moss with 30 years’ experience. He may not have the professional qualification required by the appellant’s advocate but he does have the data records, reports and detailed knowledge of the SSSI and had produced 3 of the reports that they cited as crucial evidence so he was an expert in their eyes . They just chose to interpret the evidence in a different way and hopefully the inspector has seen through their smoke and mirrors. Rob is also the author of ‘Birds of Risley Moss. In the preface he writes that the idea was bring the “information together to serve as a guide as a reference guide to the range of birds found on the reserve over the years and to why avian ecology is an important element of the SSSI status” something that the ecology expert of the appellant was attempting to diminish. Like Debbie Rob lives in the area, made a big impact with his evidence that could be substantiated and held it together under questioning. I just hope that I can do justice to the trust that the WNCF members have put in me when I take the stand. The remaining speakers on the day, Margaret, Russell and Bill made other worthwhile contributions, disputing statistical analysis of two guns firing at once, market research as well as highlighting the recent important status of Rixton Moss which is now a Local Wildlife Site by Cheshire Wildlife Trust. The appellant’s side knew nothing about this and in fact attempted to dispute this fact. The status was awarded in April 2013 and further adds to the weight of evidence of how important this area of Warrington’s is to wildlife and conservation. There is the old phrase a game of two halves. Following a painfully slow first half the 2nd half resumes next year on January 14th at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in the Platinum suite with everything still to play for and anyone who wants to speak can turn up at 10am and do so. More details can be found on ther Facebook Site "SAY NO to Rixton Shooting Club". Geoff Settle

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