…And so we return to the ongoing saga of attempts by INCOMPETENT CHARITY BOSSES at HorseWorld in Whitchurch to persuade Bath & North East Somerset Council to let them knock down their visitor centre, sell the land to property developers, and then build a new visitor centre.
Apparently that will suddenly make them all financial geniuses and not the same dunderheads who created a massive black hole out of the generous donations and bequests from animal lovers keen to see abused donkeys, horses and other equine beasts rehomed.
Last month you may recall that all three planning applications were withdrawn at the eleventh hour – could The BRISTOLIAN‘s detailed reporting on how HorseWorld bosses made staff write letters of support to the council have had anything to do with the committee members’ irritation?
Well, this afternoon (Wednesday 20 November) is crunch time: all three apps are back in the room. Indications are that the BANES committee might be minded to slip it through – especially if they read the awesome puff piece in the Bristol Post earlier this month by its Business Editor Michael Ribbeck, which all but suggested the fall of western civilisation if this new development doesn’t go ahead.
Most amusingly of all was the elaborate plucking of ‘facts’ out of thin air, conjuring with made-up statistics, and general air of the reporter having HUFFED TOO MUCH GLUE whilst glumly waiting for the next round of redundancies.
A little taste:
The planning application also includes plans for 90 homes which would be built on green belt land if the application is approved by Bath and North East Somerset Council.
Err, no, Michael – the application is for “up to 118 dwellings”. Despite the norm for an affordable element of 35%, HorseWorld is trying to get away with an allocation of just 10% at the site. That means potentially more than 100 RICH MEN’S HOMES plonked in the middle of Whitchurch instead of meeting local young people’s need for housing they can actually afford.
And the extra kick in the balls? HorseWorld wants to have subsidised on-site staff accommodation counting towards that meagre 10%!
Let’s keep going…
There have been eight objections to the scheme on the grounds of the traffic it will create and the loss of green belt land. However, the council has received almost double the number of letters in support of the redevelopment.
As we pointed out in great detail, there have been 615 letters or emails objecting to the proposals, with 108 (from 72 individuals or businesses) in support. The majority of supporters had non-local addresses. One-third of the supporters were directly linked to the charity (though most failed to declare so).
HorseWorld saw visitor numbers hit the 100,000 mark in 2011…the eventual aim is to increase numbers by around 35,000 a year.
As Highways Development Control has noted, “the anticipated increase in annual visitor numbers…from 100,000 to 134,000 per annum, ‘based on research’, no information has been submitted in order that those assumptions can be checked/verified.”
In other words, the Bristol Post-annointed ‘Communicator of the Year’ HorseWorld loves to spin a good yarn, to tell a tall tale – but can’t really back up any of its claims. And as for Ribbeck and the Post, well, who needs facts when you’ve a full tin of Evo-Stik Impact and a carrier bag on your desk.
Anyway, if anyone is in Barf tomorrow and at a loose end, do pop in to the Brunswick Room at the Guildhall for the Development Control Committee meeting; kick-off is at 2pm.
Though this might not be the end of the matter – even if BANES passes it through though, it looks likely to face objections from Bristol City Council…