Transport chief under fire over his 'bombshell'
A CITY transport chief came under withering fire at a public inquiry into proposals for a £150million development at Derriford.
Philip Heseltine told the third day of the planning inquiry that drivers faced huge hold-ups as a result of new housing developments in the north of Plymouth.
Without measures to reduce the number of car trips made to and from the planned Derriford developments by 2021, there would be an extra 8,540 vehicle trips in the morning rush hour, and 14,590 in the evening, he said.
Mr Heseltine, the head of transport strategy at Plymouth City Council, was opposing an appeal by developers Wharfside Regeneration (Devon) against refusal of planning permission for the 16.5-acre North West Quadrant site at Derriford.
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The scheme would include a small supermarket, 356 homes, shops, restaurants, care facilities and a car park.
The council has earmarked the nearby Seaton Barracks Parade Ground as its preferred site for a district shopping centre with a 7,000sq metre superstore.
Sutton Harbour Holdings, which is also taking part in the inquiry at the Jury's Inn in Plymouth, has published its own masterplan for a massive housing and shopping development at the 113-acre City Airport at Roborough.
In what was described as "a bombshell", Mr Heseltine said that if the council lost the case, he would want a condition that Wharfside's supermarket could not open before improvements to Derriford roundabout were completed.
And he said that a contribution of £1.6million from Wharfdale to the road improvements would need to be paid up-front.
But he admitted that work to decide what improvements were needed would not be complete before the end of the year – and the improvement themselves would take until 2016.
Rupert Warren, QC, for Wharfside, attacked Mr Heseltine for introducing the condition for the first time in the middle of the inquiry.
He said the new point was "a bombshell", and told Mr Heseltine: "It's outrageous to introduce a point like this on day three of the inquiry.
"I'm not acting – I am genuinely flabbergasted."
Mr Heseltine turned down an offer to withdraw his condition, but admitted he had not consulted the council's planning or legal departments.
Scott Smy, another council transport expert, told the inquiry that the development would cause delays to buses.
"We don't know accurately what the delays to buses would be, but there would be delays," he said.
Inadequate provision has been made for cyclists coming to Wharfside's proposed new High Street, Mr Smy said.
Emergency vehicles would also be held up because of the design of roads in the new development.
The inquiry continues