Complaint of planning breach at second Angus Energy oil exploration site

Lorry Weald Oil Watch

Lorry leaving an unauthorised access route to Lidsey oil site, 24 July 2017. Photo: Weald Oil Watch

West Sussex County Council has told the oil company, Angus Energy, that it must use the approved route into an oil exploration site at Lidsey, near Bognor Regis, after a complaint about planning breaches.

A lorry delivering to the site was filmed by Weald Oil Watch using an alternative route, apparently in contravention of a condition of the site’s planning permission and a legal agreement.

The film shows the lorry crossing both carriageways of the A29 to leave and enter the site via an access track, the use of which was specifically prohibited in a planning condition for highway safety reasons.

This is the second time the council has warned Angus about breaches of conditions over the access route to the Lidsey site for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).

It is also the second planning issue involving the company this year.

Surrey County Council has said the company did not have planning permission to drill a sidetrack well at the Brockham site near Dorking in January this year. Angus Energy has repeatedly said it did have permission for the well. DrillOrDrop report

DrillOrDrop invited Angus Energy by phone and email to comment on the complaint about the lorry route at Lidsey. A member of staff said our messages would be forwarded to Angus Energy’s chairman, Jonathan Tidswell-Pretorius, and the managing director, Paul Vonk. The company has not responded. This post will be updated with any comment or statement from the company.

Conditions and legal agreements

The complaint centres on planning condition 17, agreed when permission was granted in 2005. This prohibited the use of a section of track – described as access to the Southern Water Sewage Works – from the A29 to the site.

Conditon 17 of Lidsey planning permission

Condition 17 of planning permission granted by West Sussex County Council

Site plan

The complaint is significant because Angus is preparing for work which, it said, would require about 70 HGV movements throughout 9-14 days. (Link to document)

In addition to the condition, the site is covered by a legal agreement, known as a Section 106. This was also agreed in 2005 and required HGVs to follow a route to the site from the junction of the A27 and A29. A plan included in the agreement showed the designated route leaving the A29 at an access road into the industrial estate at Lidsey Farm. (Link to Section 106 Agreement)

Blue route for Section 106 agreement

In a document to West Sussex County Council earlier this year, Angus said:

“All HGV traffic will follow the agreed routeing to and from the site as set out in the existing Section 106 Agreement.”  (Link to document)

But according to the video footage, filmed on 24 July 2017, a heavy goods vehicle (HGVs) used the alternative, unauthorised access (see maps).

West Sussex County Council told DrillOrDrop today:

“Condition 17 of planning permission BN/31/05 states that (in summary) no access or egress is taken via the ‘Southern Water Sewage Works access road’. The routing approved under the S106 legal agreement requires that HGVs enter/leave the site via the A29 to the north.

“The videos appear to show lorries breaching both of these requirements by not using the authorised access, and by leaving the site to the south.”

When asked what action the council had taken, a spokesperson said:

“The County Council has made contact with the operator and highlighted the requirements of the condition and the legal agreement, and the highway safety reasons for these requirements, asking them to confirm that with immediate effect the authorised access to the site will be used, and the correct route.

“We will monitor the situation to establish whether further action may be warranted.”

Approved route blocked

Lidsey concrete block Weald Oil Watch

Block to the approved route to Lidsey Oil Site. Photo: Weald Oil Watch

The approved route to the Lidsey site is currently blocked by a concrete barrier. According to correspondence between the county council and the site operator, this is not the first time this has happened or the first time that the council has had to warn Angus about using the correct route.

In October 2014, the council visited the Lidsey site and told Angus:

“The County Planning Authority is aware that there may have been obstructions in the past along the approved vehicular route to the A29 which could have prevented access. Please be aware that all vehicular access and egress to the site must be obtained via the approved route.” (Link to document)

DrillOrDrop asked the council for its view of the current blockage of the designated route through the industrial estate. A spokesperson said:

“It is for the operator to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that they comply with conditions, which in this case will presumably mean removing the blockage.”

Condition 17 of the planning permission also requires the company to put up signs which advise HGV drivers which route to take to and from the site.

In February 2014, the council wrote to the site operator:

“All signage must be erected in accordance with the conditions as a matter of urgency and all vehicles must use the approved access route to the site from the A29.” (Link to document)

Eight months later, the council’s compliance and monitoring officer said Angus was not complying with condition 17 of the planning permission:

“No signs indicating drivers of the prohibited use of final extent of the track to the A29 were present.” (Link to document)

In February 2015, Angus sent a document to West Sussex County Council saying:

“New signage will be erected or existing signage made visible, controlling the access and egress of traffic, suppliers will be notified accordingly and the route discussed with the local farmer to ensure compliance with this condition.”

But visitors to the site recently have reported that signs have been removed.

Lidsey Notices Weald Oil Watch

Sign previously in place. Photo: Weald Oil Watch

Missing Lidsey Notice Weald Oil Watch

Missing sign this week. Photo: Weald Oil Watch

New production well

Angus has permission from West Sussex County Council and the Environment Agency to drill a new sidetrack well at Lidsey. Earlier this month, Mr Vonk predicted it would produce 400 barrels a day and make the company “self-funded for the next couple of years”. (Link to Investor Conference)

He said the well would be in production this summer and was waiting for final approval from the Oil and Gas Authority and the arrival of the rig.

DrillOrDrop asked West Sussex County Council what would happen if work began at the site using the incorrect access route. The council spokesperson said:

“We will consider our response in accordance with the approved WSCC Planning Compliance and Enforcement Plan”.

This sets out how the council will respond to breaches of planning control.

The plan says the county council can undertake between one and eight monitoring visits to mineral sites a year, which are charged to the operator. More visits will be made to sites where there are “concerns about compliance”.

The council can issue a planning contravention notice, asking for information, where there is good reason to believe a breach may have occurred. Developers and landowners must legally respond to this notice within 21 days. Failure to reply or knowingly providing false or misleading information is an offence.

Ultimately, the council can require developers to comply with conditions, or stop an activity taking place through court action.


(Wednesday 2 August)

The farmer who owns the access track to the Lidsey oil site told DrillOrDrop that the concrete block was placed across the track to deter people from trespassing on the surrounding fields. When a delivery is expected, the company should contact the farmer, who then moves the block so traffic can pass.

32 replies »

  1. So swampy and his friends block the authorised route, remove the signs and then film the lorries going the wrong way. Seems fair…

    • You got proof of that?…I doubt ‘swampy’ would have the means to move one of those concrete baracades.

  2. Once again Angus attitude reveals contempt for legal agreements, a Section 106 enforcement chargeable to Angus seems to be the only option that WSCC can take.
    Clearly this is an indication of similar contempt for legal agreements and regulations to come.
    It would be interesting to examine this breach in terms of incompetence, or deliberate provocation.
    Many thanks to the chap monitoring the situation, perhaps WSCC should consider co ordinating their Section 106 monitoring responsibilities with him? 1 to 8 visits hardly seems enough with a 24/7 industrial operation with such a contemptuous attitude, community co ordination would be a real socially uniting initiative.

  3. Despite the plea for donations this is clearly not an independent website but one with an agenda. How about asking who blocked the approved route with the concrete (I wonder) or who has removed the signage that was clearly there before
    [Moderator:] We are currently researching who owns the access track in question. Please get in touch if you can help [/Moderator]

  4. Absolutely disgusting, the approved route was blocked so the lorry driver took it upon himself to find an alternative route. They should have been shot for this crime against humanity. Acts like this cannot go unpunished, lock him up and throw away the key. Thank heavens for the dedicated, law abiding weald protectors. I can sleep at night safe in the knowledge they’re defending the realm against these HGV driving terrorists.

    • Absolutely. They should be hung drawn and quartered and placed at the 4 corners of the land to serve as a warning that failure to use your initiative will result in the same!

  5. So, do I understand correctly;
    There is a defined route permitted for HGV deliveries to site

    That route gets blocked regularly
    Signs indicating the correct route have been removed

    Despite efforts of taking the correct route, a driver that finds it blocked takes an alternative route to reach its destination

    Now both that driver and the exploration company are being reprimanded and reported in this article, as they are in breach?

    Clearly it is not the exploration company, nor the driver that removed the sign(s).
    Clearly it is not the exploration company that blocked the route

    But even so, if they did block the road themselves, and removed the sign(s) themselves. The reporting on this matter in this article is one big exaggerated joke.

    If they did not do any of this; why does the article not question as to who did block the road, and removed the signs?

    The driver should be applauded that he still took his delivery to site. Driver of the Month.

  6. Blasted sat. navs.! And a cover off a skip. OMG-will soon be approaching the contraventions that can be observed on every construction site in the country.
    Driver was possibly trying to avoid a DOD butterfly, in which case, give him a medal.

  7. These [edited by moderator] preach that they are fighting for safety yet how many times do they put other people’s lives in danger?
    Stealing road signs and blocking roads with substantial looking concrete blocks as well as causing havoc on public roads is simply dangerous, stupid and selfish. Not one anti protestor will condemn these actions and simply preach its a tit for tat response to local democracy being superseded by national policy.
    And they wonder why they cannot get more support!

    {Moderator] It’s worth pointing out that, according to the article, the road has been blocked at least once before in 2014. There is no evidence that the road was blocked by protestors or that they removed the sign. [/Moderator]

    • Ohhh! Nice try, fantasy boy, still no cigar, perhaps the mirror can imagine up some friends, and you can ask them?
      Maybe at the same time you could explain why Angus blocked up the gate and removed the signs in the first place?
      Perhaps this little hurried fluffy flurry of self righteous indignation is designed to divert from another self harm false flag rig stunt and, as typical, blame the protesters for it! Ha! Ha! what a sad little frackstunt.
      I can just imagine a few pensioners and councillors dragging a concrete block off a truck and carrying it on their walking frames fuelled by lemon drizzle cakes and cups of tea!
      Do you really think we don’t know Angus or the landowner or both blocked the official entrance on purpose? An ideal opportunity to whoop and screech on cue just like these pet humpty dumpty numpties have been prompted to do now with a sharp stick!

        • Ooohh! Silly boy! When I see a poster on these pages with one, I’ll be sure to let her know…..until then we will have to laugh at you lot?
          When was the last time yours was washed?

        • The elaborated conspiracy theories? What like the one where you blame the protectors for everything? Oh, I fell over, it must have been the protectors! Oh, the government lost its 40% majority and were forced to bribe the DUP! The protectors must have done it!
          Give it a rest yourself 😅

    • I imagine that the avg person has the brain power to put two and two together. Funny how there was a photographer situated at the spot too just ready to snap the truck in question.

      • A little keyboard rash today? And all over a little Angus false flag self harm rigjig, its getting embarrassing to see such a silly tirade on these pages, when we all know the truth.
        It was Angus what blagged the gaff, it was they what run off with the sign, its a fair cop guv, but societies to blame!

  8. UK rules and laws are out of control. The protestor take matters in its own hands and dictate what ligit business can and can’t do according to their tribal rules. Business investment will suffer for this swampie behavior.

    • Suddenly the Law of England ain’t looking so partial to self styled oligarchies is it?
      Paul T says Korea is always looking for new slav….err….talent? Why not give it a go!

  9. Moderator-equally there is no evidence to show who blocked the access road and who removed the signs. But the lorry driver had to deal with the situation he/she found. Masses of such blocked roads/access points in my location, for all sorts of reasons, but often to prevent trespass. Good old Dunkirk spirit shown by the driver. Just convenient that someone was there to film it otherwise it could all have happened without anyone knowing-like the tree falling in a deserted forest, does it really make a sound?

    • The company was specifically barred from using one of the exits due to road safety issues.

      The photo at the top of this piece and the video clearly show the problem – the lorry in exiting has to cross both carriageways on a blind bend. The road being blocked is an A road – not sure of the speed limit at this point.

      • Thanks Paul, some sensible comments and information at last. It will be interesting to know who removed the sign, since that would have required an WSCC official road order and would have shown a notification paper for a month on the pole?

    • Dunkirk spirit! This from the supporter of an invading industry! My grandad would have loved to have a conversation with you, he would have showed you what an invader tried to do to him at Dunkirk!
      This oddly shaped tinfoil titfer washing up and down in the red stained surf is rattling on, and on, and on…..joining so many, many other silent ones…..

  10. Meanwhile, the rig arrives at PNR. Diversion tactics win the day.

    As I posted many moons ago, Harold waiting for something to happen, it happens somewhere else, so he rushes there, whilst there what he was waiting to happen in the first place, does, so he rushes there and the war is lost. History repeating.

    • Sad fantasists meet rabid invaders?
      Must be a deleted N Korean FPSU game I missed in the reject basket?

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