In January 2013 the Public Inquiry into the proposed Tesco supermarket in Coleford was abruptly halted because of legal arguments. Many opponents of the scheme who had all written or emailed letters of objection had not received back the legally required notification that the Inquiry was to take place. As well as being a legal requirement, notification of an inquiry is part of the FODDC’s appeals protocol.
A frantic round of emails were then sent out by the Hands Off Our Towns (HOOT) group, and almost as soon as the meeting started, the Inspector’s attention was drawn to the fact that there were a number of people – including four in the council chamber – who had not received the notification. HOOT called for the meeting to be adjourned, highlighting the problems over notification, and also adding that the Council had failed in their duty under the Human Rights Act to correctly proceed with engaging the public on their involvement with the application for the supermarket.