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Thread: Developer that just doesn't care

  1. #1
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    Developer that just doesn't care

    The community around me here has been fighting a developer for years. He has been putting in a stream of planning applications trying to start building on my local public park. The new planning application blatantly rides rough-shot over the legislation and needs of disabled people. Being 'officially' 33% disabled myself, it makes me mad!

    The councils planning officers have lots of meetings with the developer and don't seem to care about the problems. They just seem to be ignoring objection letters written by ordinary people. What I need is some official-looking disability group to write an objection letter, to get the points in. This should force the planning officers to do their job.

    I was hoping someone on this forum could get me into contact with a group that would write a letter. This is our best chance to make the council sit up and pay attention to peoples needs.


    Thanks
    Ron Harding
    Chairman
    Official Crabtree Park Group
    Camberley, Surrey.

  2. #2
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    I should say that the actual application itself is a blatant violation. The proposed site will be on two levels with no disabled access to the upper level!

    The levels are only joined by an extremely long and very steep 1 in 8 car-only ramp and by steep steps with a narrow route with no passing-places. The design is unworkable and also actively dangerous to wheelchair users. It claims Wheelchair users will cross the road at a new designated crossing at the brow of the steep car ramp, but they will not be seen from cars rising the ramp.

    The developer just doesn't care. We do not think the planning officer is considering the disability access properly. We are kinda desperate for a letter from a disability group to make the council sit up and take notice of the problems.
    Last edited by Ron123; 12-01-15 at 13:00.

  3. #3
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    My experience of planning officers is that they can be remarkably ignorant of access issues, including the recommended ways of complying with the Building Regulations requirements on access to and use of buildings in Approved Document M.

    Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any specific guidance on other access matters, though I'm not an expert in planning law. I doubt that anything 'official' with have any more weight than objections from locals - indeed, it is possible that anything from a non local group might be disregarded as the group has no standing in the matter.


    I suggest that you attempt to find out if there is an access officer at the council with whom you can discuss your concerns, also attempt to make contact with a local access group if there is one.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    Deed of Covenant

    I'm guessing that you really don't want any development building on your open space.

    Many years ago we had a developer wanting to chop down a small woodland area in a local municipal park owned by the Council.

    The developers were looking into gaining outline planning permission to build several houses. Then the locals staged a massive protest by coming out in force and marched around the park inside and out. That in itself didn't do much but it did make somebody look into who had owned the land and discovered a document that answered their prayers . . .

    Taken from Wythenshawe Park Timeline -
    1926 - Wythenshawe Hall and Park acquired by Lord and Lady Simon and given to Manchester to be an open space forever. Farewell party at Wythenshawe Hall to tenants on occasion of its sale by Mr. Tatton. Manchester City Council purchased Tatton Estates in Wythenshawe and set up Wythenshawe Estate Special Committee to plan development of the garden city.

    The development never went ahead!

    Look into who owned the land and if a deed of covenant was set up.
    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

    http://www.restrictivecovenants.co.u...ilhouses.shtml

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    I had wondered the same as you, Lighttouch - that the original poster's true intent might be to block the development on the open space entirely, rather that to ensure access to the development once built.

    It is hard to see how access issues will lead to planning permission being refused completely, though they could lead to the council demanding design changes.


    Lighttouch is quite right to suggest researching whether there are any covenants preventing the intended use of the land, though I suggest that the first place to start is the Land Registry web site to see if the land holding on which the development is intended to take place is registered. You might have to buy a few sets of title registers and maps as part of this research - they're £3 each for ordinary copies (official copies that are admissible in legal proceedings cost more, but there's no point obtaining those until you are sure you need them). If the land holding you are interested in is a registered lease, you should obtain the title documents for any superior leases and the freehold if those interests are registered (typically the title register of a lease will give the registration number of the title for the superior interest).

    If the land is registered and the current holder obtained it for valuable consideration (i.e. they paid for it), only those covenants that are on the Land Registry entry have effect (that is what section 29(2)(a)(i) Land Registration Act 2002 amounts to). The disposition for valuable consideration has priority over unregistered covenants.

    Any competent conveyancer will ensure than any equitable interests are overreached by a purchaser, so old trust deeds relating to the land likely have no ongoing say in the uses of the land. Overreaching detaches any equitable interests from the land and attaches them to the proceeds of sale.


    If the land is currently unregistered land, it is much more complicated to establish which covenants are active on the land.


    A bit of searching online suggests that the land in question was once a landfill before being used for recreational and sporting purposes (the proposed development is, so far as I can tell, a redevelopment of Camberley Town FC's facilities). I would guess that there are unlikely to be any covenants about the use of the land post-landfill, other than covenants preventing activities that would interfere with the landfill capping and drainage.

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    Yes you are correct, nobody in the community wants the developer building on the public park. He is using the Football Club.

    We have been fighting this for 6 years, every time we win, the developer just changes the plans (to correct the technical point it was stopped on last time) and resubmits them. The problem is that there is not the room on site to fix the problems: fixing one thing moves the 'kink' to another aspect. To fix the previous batches problems he has introduced all of these new disability issues. So instead of fighting it on what was wrong last time, we need to fight it on what is wrong this time. Access.

    Campaign groups totally outrank local people with our planning officers. We know from experience that our planning officers don't even seem to bother reading objections submitted by ordinary people, but when the same points are made by an MEng, or an Organised Body, they get worried and do their job. We know from experience that locality is not relevant, the developer has been known to use facebook to get phony support letters from Australia that the council count! (sadly this is no joke!)

    We have looked into Covenants etc, there are some. The land was turned into a public park to offset another development. But we have been advised that they can all be defeated by the developers lawyers. Our developer doesn't give up.

    We will certainly find out if there is a council access officer. The only local group that we have been able to talk to is 'the Surrey Coalition of Disabled People', we hope they will help, but they seem very busy.


    Quote Originally Posted by Flymo View Post
    My experience of planning officers is that they can be remarkably ignorant of access issues
    So was I! But reading through Regs and 'Inclusive Mobility' standards etc. It is clear that the application does not come close to the minimum standards. I certainly couldn't make it across this design. We have the points. My son has even put the points into a document and submitted it, but they won't get read.

    We need a group to write a letter. Someone to make the officers know they can't just push the problems into mobility issues and slip them under the rug without being called out. Any ideas?
    Last edited by Ron123; 13-01-15 at 14:52.

  7. #7
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    Have you tried the Centre for Accessible Environments?

    http://www.cae.org.uk/

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    You don't actually say WHAT they are proposing to build? I mean a shop, a library? that sort of thing is public and rightly should have disabled access. If its houses, you not got a leg to stand on as its private.
    And looking to some group? Local issues will be swayed by locals who live in the area, I'm afraid.
    I would as Flymo says find out who owns the land. And what exactly they are proposing to build.

  9. #9
    Senior Member TheFlyingKidney's Avatar
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    Keep Fighting, the local school contracted to Jarvis to run the school put up floodlights for a late night sports pitch and cut down some mature (40 or more, years poplar trees, without replacing screening for light pollution. When they are on it drizzles across the whole valley!
    And the school looks like a WW2 prison camp!

    I would say write to anyone you can think of, Prince Charles, the Environment Minister, and keep making noise to the local and national press.

    Good luck.

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