20th November 2019
Esso are still refusing to change their plans for Queen Elizabeth Park, despite the fact that we have the support of over 6,200 people.
We know that Esso’s current plans will cause tremendous, lasting damage to the park. Rushmoor Borough Council agree with us - in their Local Impact Report, they say:
“throughout Queen Elizabeth Park, 5.8 acres of the 23.15 acres will be clear felled with 25.1% of the woodland being lost” Rushmoor Borough Council’s Local Impact Report, section 8.12.2
The Planning Inspectorate have published the latest batch of documents on their website (the Deadline 2 Submissions) and we can see that Esso have not responded to public opinion at all.
One of these documents contains Esso’s responses to the Planning Inspectorate’s questions on Queen Elizabeth Park. Sadly it shows that Esso are absolutely unwilling to consider alternatives to their current, immensely destructive plans.
For example, in their response to question QE.1.5, Esso say that they won’t use trenchless installation in the park for these reasons:
- They need to clear trees to make space for stringing out the new pipeline (even though they told our councillors they would thread the pipes between the trees)
- They need to clear an area to auger bore under the A325
- They need an access route across the park to the auger bore area - which means clearing more trees
- Because of all this clearance, they say they might as well dig a trench for the pipe because the other activities result in so much tree loss that a few extra trees won’t make much difference
Their response is paraphrased for ease of understanding but the level of disregard they have for our park should still be apparent.
Saving our park from this destruction will not be easy but there are still opportunities to make our views known. We can still influence the planning process and fight to make Esso work carefully in our park and treat it with the care and respect it deserves.
What Can We Do?
Unfortunately, putting direct pressure on Esso will not make them change their minds. They will do the least they can to get consent to install their pipeline through our park.
However we can influence the Planning Inspectorate. They are listening to us. As long as we follow their rules and participate fully in the examination process, we have a very good chance to show how important the park is to us and to convince them that Esso’s current plans are too damaging.
The petition helps too, as do all the posters which are appearing around Farnborough. Attending events in the park helps too - in fact anything that shows how many local people will be negatively affected by Esso’s plans will help our case.
The plans can be changed, but Esso will only do this when becomes clear that the Planning Inspectorate will not recommended them as they currently stand.
Please Come to the Open Floor Hearing
If you have time, please come to the Open Floor Hearing on Monday 25th November, 6pm at the Holiday Inn, Farnborough. It’s a public meeting, organised by the Planning Inspectorate, so anyone can attend.
There is no need to speak at the meeting. Just being there will show that the issue is important to you and will help us immensely. We really hope you can spare the time to come along.