We remain entirely convinced that the signing of the S106 is unnecessary and that a deferral is reasonable. We do not deny that the signing of an S106 is normal and due process, however, this situation of having two planning applications on the table is unique and exceptional. There is an alternative plan, Mayday Saxonvale, with consent that Mendip District Council (MDC)’s leadership have now stated they intend to consider.
Prior to the Asset Management Group (AGM) meeting, we raised multiple legal issues which contravene planning case law with MDC and Somerset County Council. These issues were not referenced when assessing the risks of signing or not signing the S106.
MDC leaders repeatedly downplayed any impact of signing the S106 on their ability to assess and change course. We cannot see how this is possible, since by our interpretation of the contract, Acorn will be in complete control post-signature. We hold the council to their word that they will open discussions that can include an alternative candidate for the site.
For the first time, the council set out its position on the comparison of the two schemes. They confirmed the Acorn scheme will be re-evaluated and MDC are not bound to proceed. They confirmed they have the mechanisms to consider other options, such as Mayday Saxonvale, and proceed with them if they wish.
We now expect to hear imminently what the time frame is, how this will happen, and what process will be followed. We have repeatedly invited the council to engage with us without success. We now look forward to a response to our next communication.
Damon Moore & Paul Oster
Mayday Saxonvale Directors