I have had several requests for a summary of the key points from the presentation. So here we go!
* The Kirton and Trimley Land Grab entity has now been superceded by The Kirton and Trimley Community Action Group (KATCAG - sorry, not the prettiest!). KATCAG has now been incorporated and is a company limited by guarantee - any questions on that, please ask Simon!
* The key members of the Steering Group are Stephen Wrinch, Ryan Osborne, Becca Atherstone, Iain Irvine and Jane McCarthy. Input from several other people contributes to our overall position. Our legal representative is Simon Quantrill of Quantrills, Ipswich.
* Because they have taken no notice of real issues raised in earlier consultations, it is recognised our concerns will probably continue to exist after Suffolk Coastal approve the Final Plan on 3rd January, 2019. It follows our first realistic opportunity for success will be the Inspectors Hearing, scheduled for June 2019. This being the case the critical importance of an Objective Needs Analysis of housing requirements was pointed out to those present
* It was pointed out the Steering Group is made up of people who are well-intentioned and reasonably intelligent, but who acknowledge their expertise is probably limited. They can probably do no more than analyse the key issues for consideration by others, better-qualified to do so. Accordingly, the meeting was told of KATCAG's intention to engage top-quality legal advice from a Barrister skilled in planning issues, at the earliest possible stage - probably within a fortnight
* The Barrister will be asked to advise those areas where professional expertise / reports are considered necessary to support our case and who should conduct the research required.
* It will probably cost circa. £50K to reach a point in June 2019, where all the relevant information has been gathered and a legal representation has been made to the Inspector
* This may be sufficient to win the day, but it may not! If it is not, Counsel will be asked to review the position at that point and assess the likelihood of success if we were to trigger a judicial review. If there was felt to be a better than 50% chance of winning a judicial review, those who have donated or pledged money will be invited to attend a 3rd Community Meeting, hear Counsel's view and vote on whether or not to proceed to a judicial review. A Judicial Review would involve further costs, probably in the region of £80K - £100K,
* The point was made these sums can either be a very large cost to a small number of people or a fairly minimal cost if the load is shared by a large number of people. It was proposed that funding the campaign is all about the number of people willing to support it. This, in turn, will depend on their view as to whether or not the campaign is likely to be successful
* On that particular issue, it was noted the Steering Group were initially of the view the proposals were likely to be implemented anyway, but resisting SCDC could be worth a shot.
In the 10 weeks since then, we have grown in our belief that the campaign is totally winnable, provided focus is concentrated on SCDC's evidence base (as compiled by Lichfields). It is felt important emotions should not be allowed to cloud good judgement
* During the course of the last 10 weeks, a great deal of important information has been gleaned from local Councillors and others who have a great deal of valuable knowledge and past experiences; we are confident they have provided us with a soundly-based critique. This has revealed a catalogue of factual errors and, more importantly, irrational conclusions arising from the mistakes and assumptions made. These impact hugely on the draft Local Plan's proposals for both housing and the allocation of land
* The Steering Group is particularly conscious of its responsibility to spend any funds raised in a wise and responsible manner, which is another reason a preliminary consultation with a Barrister is going to take place. Against the probability, our preliminary thoughts are held to be valid, we took a decision to start raising the necessary funds.
* Clearly, the Steering Group does not need £200K in its coffers right now, which is why this sum has been split into Stage 1 and Stage 2. It is intended £50K should be raised by way of Donations to support Stage 1 and this sum will probably be required prior to the middle of 2019. From that point on, it is not known if any further monies will be needed, but we recognised we should ensure funding is in place, if required.
* Accordingly, a combined Donation and Pledge Scheme was launched. Mindful that "numbers" are everything, the people attending the meeting were encouraged to give £20 themselves and then identify 10 other people, perhaps unable to attend the meeting, who might wish to participate
* People were told a PayPal account is now open and that they could donate / pledge from the web site or Facebook online. A printable QR code would also be provided for people intending to canvas the support of their various contacts without Facebook or a computer.
* Those present were asked also to speak with those of their contacts concerned about environmental and pollution issues (probably most of the people in their email address book!). Even if they live in the far reaches of the Highlands, it is felt many of them will happily donate funds to protect many hundreds of acres of prime land and wildlife habitats, wherever it is located.
* Several other actions are to take place including the regular lobbying of incumbent councillors, observing at Council meetings and, in particular, the possible mass attendance of the Final Plan approval meeting on 3rd January, 2019 - more about these issues in due course.
* Finally, the possibility of launching a 'political' strategy was raised. It was proposed Councils, even if defeated in the short-term, have a habit of re-hashing their proposals under a different hat in subsequent years. It was suggested there exists an underlying 'rot' that allows this to happen and there could be merit in identifying a group of independent District Councillor candidates (spanning all of SCDC) who could be relied upon to vote for the wishes of their constituents at all times and in line with the moral code enshrined on this web site.
* It was pointed out any such campaign would have to operate and be funded separately from KATCAG and that it was no more than an idea at this stage. However, anyone interested in progressing it was invited to get in touch with the meeting organisers with a view to a 'launch' decision being taken in January, 2019
AS A FOOTNOTE: In the 24 hours following the meeting, donations averaged £26 / person and Pledges ranged from the last coins in one lady's purse (!! - thank you) to £1,000. A great start!