Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Ashfield Village Green report is out.

This afternoon I got a call from the press saying that the council has sent out a press release saying that the Village Green Application was recommended by the Inspector not to be given. The press were keen for a comment. Given that I hadn't heard nor seen the report it would have been wrong for me to say anything.

Now that I have returned home I have seen the report. The Council, who were obviously keen to rush out without seeing the report in-depth, I want more time to look at it in depth and speak with the correct people, including our legal advisers.

I say this not to say that we will be rushing to court to challenge it immediately but we will look at the prospect of this and we have never ruled this out should we have a strong chance to win in court.

Given that the report is 43 pages of legal argument it is not a 5 minute read and will take a number of days to look at it and take what the inspector is saying. What I have found out the law is not right or wrong but based on opinions and interpretations. Once we have taken this in and discussed we will then take a view on next steps. They range from accepting the recommendation to challenging the decision. Village Greens are hard to win and we always knew this but we felt we had a strong chance.

One thing we did succeed in was stopping Persimmon getting their greedy mits on this prime land back in 2012. The Council says they never were going to sell it but the emails from their senior - gained under the FOI - prove it was only the play park and car park that was staying.

In essence there is nothing to stop the council selling the land off now to the developer. Given we are less than a year before a local election for 2 years I would strongly suspect that they will do this after May 2016. That way local people can't vote against against them till 2018. They will hope you have forgotten or those officers will have moved on.

Once we have reviewed the situation and come up with the next steps we will update the blog.

On the matter of the Council extending the historical parts of Ashfield this does not protect it like they say. All it does is push up the price the developers would have to pay.

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