Thursday, 7 August 2014

Leeds Trolleybus Enquiry Day 40

Leeds Trolleybus Public Enquiry
Day 40   

Here are the links for Day 40 of the Leeds Trolleybus Enquiry, 24 July 2014.  This was the last day of the Enquiry before the summer holiday break, it will resume on 2nd September 2014.

I should apologise for the late appearance of the listing for the audios of the day's sessions as I was on my way to my holiday destination when this was taking place and I didn't get to process the recordings until I came back to Leeds the following week.  Here are the links to the pages where they are hosted, and my commentary follows below them.

In the first morning session of Day 40 of the Leeds Trolleybus Public Enquiry, after admin and timetable matters have been dealt with, Mr Stuart Natkus, acting for his clients, Statutory Objectors, examines Professor Jeremy Purseglove on ecological issues around Headingley Hill.

In the late morning session of Day 40 of the Leeds Trolleybus Public Enquiry Gregory Jones QC completes his cross examination of Mr Neil Chadwick on the business case for NGT and is followed by Neil Cameron QC who carries out the re-examination of the witness.
The Inspector then gives his decision on the matter of whether he will accept the Heritage technical appendix and this is followed by some brief discussion of the coming timetable.
The Enquiry is now adjourned for the summer break and will resume at 10am on Tuesday 2nd September 2014.


The 40 days of the Enquiry so far has been gruelling for all parties concerned, it sounds like some Biblical trial which has to be endured!

There is still a great deal of business before the Enquiry to be examined in the coming weeks, not least the vexed matter of the newly submitted Document B-13 (Heritage).

Readers will probably know by now that he decided to allow it to be included, but listening to his statement at the end of today's business you will find it is not entirely unconditional in its acceptance.  It is worth noting that it will not replace the existing Heritage Statement and objectors are invited to draw attention to inconsistencies between the two.

I haven't had a great deal of discussion with other objectors since returning from my holiday, but one opinion which has come up and which I have some leaning towards is that this is not an entirely unmixed blessing for NGT. 

The Inspector probably felt that he might come in for some criticism if he refused to accept technical data which was available. NGT might have some case for appeal if this were the case and so it would appear that Mr Whitehead has erred on the side of caution in this matter.  

However, noting that it will not replace but only add to the existing document could be a poisoned chalice for NGT as I know that there are indeed some discrepancies between the two documents, either those which relate to my own examinations on Rose Court mansion, and others which have been pointed out to me by fellow objectors.  Doubtless First West Yorkshire have had a team of eagle eyed examiners trawling through the 370 pages to find as many as they can.  One may imagine that the greater the number and severity of these inconsistencies the greater will be the risks of displeasure which might be incurred by NGT in the Inspector's final assessment of this matter.

The promoter must have felt that they had something to gain by making this late submission, but in view of the way the cross examination of the evidence has gone so far, I am inclined to think that they may have made a rod for their own back, or to mix my metaphors, perhaps the Inspector has decided to see whether if he gives them a long enough rope they end up hanging themselves with it.

This is all somewhat up in the air at present and until it is put under examination.  Clearly the Applicant thought that they had something to gain with this, but what exactly is something I am struggling to grasp to some extent given the already identified problem that Mr Jones identified some while back, that being whether the document is an admission of the original’s inadequacy (especially in view of Mr Ward’s cross examination).

Clearly there will be some re-examination of witnesses before this is properly behind us and we have to hope that this will not cause the timetable to creep into November.  A further full 40 days would test the stamina and patience of even Job!