Josef Ransley, District Councillor, responds to Crouchland Video

Writing on his blog, Josef Ransley wrote the following yesterday;

'I was somewhat disappointed with this article and the one in 'The Midhurst & Petworth Observer' wherein Leon Mekitarian is represented as a local dairy farmer who loves his cows. Just for clarity’s sake I provide a link to his published profile . It would appear from this that the timeline of his involvement at the farm seems to coincide with the change of use from ‘on farm’ anaerobic digestion plant at Crouchlands to that of commercial waste processing which, effectively is what the current retrospective planning application addresses.

I don’t challenge his undoubted love of cows nor question his skill set in commercial waste processing management and commitment to diversify from the previous dairy farming activity on the farm. However, I and many local residents would be grateful if he could be a little more respectful of our planning system, most people do not carry out development and then apply for retrospective planning consent after having been served enforcement notices and then proudly proclaim that they are acting within the law!

Lastly, I too share a concern over the bleak national statistics that show our dairy farming in crisis but I fail to see how creating a new and inappropriate industrial operation in the rural countryside is in anyway going to help resolve that issue.

The application will now go before WSCC Planning Committee on 3rd March 2015 and the report will be published on the WSCC website Friday 20th Feb. see link

Meanwhile, WSCC have failed to respond to Counsel’s opinion submitted by the Parish Councils in whose area the site is located. This is unfortunate as it is normal protocol to do so and rather undermine the normal transparency associated with the planning process.

I hope that given all the apparent abuse of our democratic systems, misleading information, legal wrangling, conflict between local authorities as well as emotional upset this saga has occasioned in our communities the WSCC Councillors determining this application will still be able to discern and apply the basic principles that guide our planning process'.