27th February 2020

A useful summary of the Esso Pipeline Hearing courtesy of the Liberal Democrats can be read here (pdf file). This was written by our local Councillor Cliff Betton who attended the hearing and distributed by Councillor Sashi Mylvaganam. The summary includes details of the SANGS and road closures. As was suspected, the impact is less than some had feared. Additionally SCC Highways have said that they anticipate the St Catherine's Road closure will, for the most part, apply to through traffic. Local residents and emergency vehicles will have access for much of the period of the works in that area. Balmoral Drive will not close at all but will have traffic lights while the work is taking place.

The compound in the SANGS area looks like it will be operational for about 32 weeks. The area affected is mostly scrub land and that is arguably better than removing mature trees in the next door woodland. That said, it is still a valuable green space and it is a shame about 35% of it will be taken over in this way, albeit on a temporary basis. The pull through area for the pipe would in any event take up some of this area. I have looked at this closely and sadly I can see no realistic alternative. Whilst the compound could, in my view, move to the neighbouring MOD land, the pull through just wouldn't work in that area.

In the view of our Committee Member Graham O'Connell, it seems likely that the Examining Authority will approve the compound and there is little at this stage anyone can do about that. Some may wish to negotiate with Esso but even that may now be too late especially as there does not seem to be a suitable alternative. Graham thinks the best course of action is to influence improvements to the SANGS area when it is restored, as it must be, by Esso.

You can read the Deadline 6 Submission - 8.61 Site Specific Plan - St Catherine's SANG (pdf file) on the National Infrastructure Planning website to see what the Esso Plans are for the SANGS area in St. Catherines Road.

Below is an image of Page 12 showing the Area Plan. Page 14 shows the Construction Plan and Page 15 the Reinstatement Plan.