A tale of Bureaucracy & Prevarication.
Once upon a time in the ancient Dorset village of Bradpole there existed a plot of land, close by to where the Manor House (possibly the ancestral home of Baron Hardup) once stood. More recently this land has been in the ownership of West Dorset District Council.
It came to pass, in the early 21st C., that the landowner decided that much wealth could be added to the landowner’s treasury by selling a part of the land to a builder of dwellings.
Thus it was that a builder of dwellings did create a terrace of cottages which was to be named “Badgers Row” in recognition of some local fauna that had once dwelt on this land.
In exchange for this habitat loss the builder of dwellings did agree with, the now wealthy, landowner to enhance and manage the land close by that remained in the ownership of the District Council.
For the benefit of all the goodly folk of the village the landowner and the builder of dwellings did post, for all to see, their agreement, a section of which is copied here under.
APPLICATION NO: 1/D/10/001646
LAND ADJACENT TO HIGHER STREET, BRADPOLE
SCHEDULE OF CONDITIONS
|4.||No development shall commence until a hard and soft landscaping scheme has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The submitted scheme shall include (i) details of the proposed bank, steps and retaining walls to Higher Street, (ii) planting plans,(iii) written specifications and schedules of proposed plants noting species, planting sizes, proposed numbers/densities and – where appropriate – implementation timetables and (iv) a schedule of landscape maintenance proposals for a period of not less than five years from the date of completion of the scheme. Thereafter, unless otherwise approved in writing by the local planning authority, the approved landscaping scheme shall be implemented in the planting season November – March immediately following the commencement of development.
REASON: To safeguard the character of the area, including the adjoining conservation area, in accordance with West Dorset District Local Plan policies SA21 (Protection of Character or Appearance of Conservation Areas) and DA2 (Landscape Schemes).
Full details may be found at the following archive:
So far so good dear reader, that is until the twin impostors, whose names are “Bureaucracy” and “Prevarication”, enter this tale.
For a number of years there has been much correspondence going back and forth but little progress has been achieved other than the publication of a Landscape Plan:
The Councillors of Bradpole Civil Parish have sought to achieve some resolution to this long outstanding matter. Until recently this effort had been led by Steve Spear, the goodly Chair of the Parish Council. Sadly Steve was taken from us in November 2017 but in fond memory of their late leader councillors are continuing his good work and have called upon the people’s 2018 representative, Sir Oliver, in the far away crumbling Palace of Westminster to lend support to this worthy cause.
Bradpole Council had sought to have this land designated as a Green Space under the developing Neighbourhood Plan which would have provided some measure of protection as requested by residents. One unfortunate consequence of this prevarication is that this has not yet been possible because the land is not being used as a public green space and the above tale explains why.
11 July: On the bi-centenary of W.E. Forster’s birth Bradpole council Chair & Vice Chair meet with a WDDC officer to discuss their concerns and expectations. We expect to receive a response, in the next couple of weeks, from Dorset Councils to this meeting and will publish any information when received.
28 June: WDDC have not responded to the request for a meeting and once again volunteer councillors are having to chase this up thus wasting more time!
21 June: Councillors (volunteers) request site meeting with officers (salaried) from WDDC (the landowners).
5 June Bradpole Council asks WDDC to both secure and maintain the site and since the current situation is no longer tenable to take action to prepare an alternative plan to achieve this project for the benefit of the villagers of Bradpole.
29 May With no evidence of work commencing the matter has been referred back to Sir Oliver as requested.
2 May West Dorset District Council advise Bradpole Council that the required licence has been issued to the developer for signing.
26 April Sir Oliver has asked to be informed if the work has not commenced by the end of May 2018.
5 April Message received from Dorset Councils suggesting that damp ground conditions are the current excuse for further prevarication.
27 March from the landowner in response to a further enquiry from Bradpole Council:
“I was informed by the developer that the works could not be carried out until May as the likely soft ground conditions resulting from the winter and spring precipitation would have rendered the work impractical. With the May commencement in mind the licence needs to be in place prior to then. Provided we complete the licence in time that does not delay matters.
Since the developer has approved the heads of terms for the licence and our legal team have been instructed to draft the licence I would anticipate the licence being completed during April well in advance of the works commencing.”
Badger Row higher Street Bridport WD/ENF/18/00022 Breach of Planning Conditions
In response to various letters, including from Sir Oliver Letwin, Bradpole Parish Council has today received the following response from Dorset Councils Partnership on behalf of the District Council landowners:
“The Developer has agreed to conduct the works in the Spring in April or May once the worst of the winter weather is over. Whilst the Developer would appear to be in Breach of Condition 3 Planning Application 1/D/07/001656 and we could consider instigating enforcement action, this is a legal process and is likely to take up until the spring to finalise if approved.
However having discussed this with the Senior Enforcement Officer and as our Senior Estates Surveyor is making good progress in his discussions with the Developer we have decided not to intervene at this stage and have decided to defer any enforcement action and hope that the developer fulfils his obligations and completes the work in the spring and we can reach the conclusion that all interested parties desire.
We will however still be sending a letter out to the developer reminding him of his responsibilities to fulfil Condition 3 of Planning application 1/D/07/001656 and stress that the work must be completed by end of May 2018″
Bradpole Parish Council will continue to closely monitor progress to establish whether “Bureaucracy” and “Prevarication” have finally been banished from this pantomime.