The planning inquiry for the 'Boundary Hall' site in Tadley, close to the perimeter fence at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston commenced today in Basingstoke (12 October 2010).
The inquiry will establish whether planning permission should be granted for a housing development at the controversial Boundary Hall site, which lies within the detailed emergency planning zone for AWE Aldermaston. Planning permission was granted to developer Cala Homes but the case was called in by the Secretary of State at the Department of Communities and Local Government at the request of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who are concerned that the population within the emergency planning zone for AWE Aldermaston already exceeds limits specified in government nuclear siting policies.
The inquiry has become a crucial test case for the HSE's public protection strategy of limiting the population potentially at risk in emergency planning zones by controlling development around nuclear licensed sites.
Commenting on neighbouring West Berkshire Council's proposed core strategy for development, Basingstoke and Deane has warned of the consequences for development in the vicinity of AWE sites.
“Given that issues remain in relation to the presence of AWE Aldermaston and Burghfield, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) is concerned that development is potentially not deliverable in this area or that it could have impacts on BDBC being able to cater for the needs of the existing population within the Tadley/Baughurst area”, the Council stated.
NIS's sister organisation, the Nuclear Awareness Group, has made a submission to the inquiry supporting the Health and Safety Executive's position and asking the Planning Inspector to put public safety before gains from development around AWE sites.
However, property developers, local MPs, and Parish Councils have been lobbying heavily for restrictions on housing development in the emergency planning zones for the two main AWE sites to be relaxed.
The inquiry will last for eight days, with Monday 18 October designated as the final day for closing submissions.
A copy of the notes of the pre-inquiry meeting between the planning inspector and the parties represented at the inquiry can be downloaded here: