Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Save Ashfield Public Inquiry has now concluded

The Save Ashfield Park has now concluded. It had been penciled in to last till the end of the week. However, yesterday the sole objector, Wigan Council, conceded two areas of the application. They were then only opposing it on one technical question - did we have permission?

Because of the fact that we had a number of residents that were going to attend today but, given that the Council had conceded that we had been using the area for recreational use then we did not need to call our witnesses. A couple of them did turn up just to view the proceedings.

So the technical question is a hard one to get your head round, I won't try in this post to explain that, but it was quite clear from yesterday's evidence from the Council that their view was not consistent. There was so many flaws in it, in my opinion it wasn't hard to pick holes in it. Hopefully me being able to identify these and point them out will only help our case.

The Inspector has said that he will try to get his report back to the Council by the end of the month. This will be an interesting time and the time before then will no doubt be a nervous one. Once the report comes back it will have a recommendation whether the Council, who are also the Registration Officer, to either register it as a Village Green or not. That report should go to the legal dept, as the objector and also to myself at the same time. Hope my copy doesn't get lost in the post.

Anyway once that recommendation is back it will go before the regulation committee and if the recommendation is to register it as a Village Green they will consider that. Should they choose to ignore the Independent Inspector recommendation they would have to have a strong case otherwise we would challenge that in the courts. To be fair very few, if any, go against the recommendation and as much as I may call the Council I doubt this would be the case where even they ignore it.

In today's paper the Council Deputy Leader saying that I have wasted 000's of pounds on this public inquiry that wasn't needed. Let's address this.

Today I have formal asked that the Council apologise to the Inspector for their comments. I say this because even though they think they are having a go at me (personally) the fact is during the last three and a half years the council have asked the inspector to kick out the application. He hasn't. In the end and at the last time they attempted this he sent out formal directions to go to a public inquiry and it was therefore him that called this public inquiry. He did this not because he liked me or not because he didn't like the Council. He did this because the application was valid and needed to be determined and therefore when the Council say that this public inquiry has wasted money they are actually calling him - and for that they should apologise because I do not believe that he would wast 000's of pounds.

Also in his summing up he even said the public inquiry has been extremely helpful and he has learnt more. I hope that helps us and our case. Also he thanked myself for my conduct during the whole process. Funny the Council just say that I am this bad lad but yet others can see through their spin.

Just finally the Council say that if the area doesn't get Village Green status then they will look to make it part of the historic gardens. Guess what? That doesn't stop houses in any way it only makes the land more valuable, so they would win by getting more money from the developer, should they sell now that they have been exposed.

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