August date for Celtique Energie’s Boxal Bridge drilling appeal

An inquiry has been provisionally scheduled for August next year to hear Celtique Energie’s appeal against the refusal of planning permission for exploratory drilling in West Sussex.

In a letter dated yesterday, the Planning Inspectorate proposed the inquiry into the company’s Boxal Bridge application should start on August 11th 2015. It is scheduled to last five days and be held at Horsham District Council’s offices.

In July this year, the planning committee of West Sussex County Council unanimously refused permission to Celtique Energie for a vertical and horizontal borehole near Wisborough Green and Kirdford. The company appealed against the decision in October and asked for a local inquiry.

This will examine the technical issues of the planning application, such as traffic, the site, the drilling process and local geology. Celtique Energie will put the case for its application and is expected to call three witnesses. The County Council will defend its decision.

The appeal will also be opposed by the campaign group, Keep Kirdford and Wisborough Green. In a separate letter last month, the Planning Inspectorate awarded the group “Rule 6” status. This is given to groups that can offer significant value to the inquiry process and can add substantively to the case being made by the local planning authority. Rule 6 status allows KKWG to give evidence and cross-examine witnesses.

Both Celtique Energie and West Sussex County Council are allowed to refuse one proposed date. They must respond to the current proposed date by 15th December.

Documents submitted for the inquiry can be viewed here.

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