BCC drop their Ashton Vale defence

The Bristol Post is today reporting that the council has dropped its defence in the Judicial review case over the proposed Ashton Vale stadium area. It doesn’t appear to have been made official yet with the court, so take the report with a pinch of salt.

A couple of people have noted the convenient timing of this announcement – the day after mayoral referendum. I don’t imagine that Bristol City fans will appreciate being kept in the dark over this decision before casting their votes yesterday!

The shock decision means the council will now commission an independent inspector to hold another public inquiry over the future of the site. In effect, the long-running saga is going back to square one.

I am not sure that this is true. At all. The judicial review will still go ahead, just without a defence, I believe. The judge will make the decision in June as planned, although clearly the council feel that it will go against them. If it does go back to an inspector, there would be no justifiable reason for employing a new inspector to start over again from scratch instead of just examining the new evidence.

The council’s decision to cut its losses also means there is likely to be less delay over the future of the site.

Presumably this will still happen on the same time scale, although perhaps marginally quicker without a defence team. I am not sure why some commenters seem to think that this will speed things up to any noticeable extent.

I note that the article includes two quotes from the defence side (a council spokesman and Cllr Peter Abraham), but no one from the other side. It also fails to look at how much time and money the council wasted defending a poorly made decision.

A question that springs to mind is – at what point did the council know that they would lose the case? I am not aware of any new evidence or arguments being made in the last couple of weeks. Did they in fact know all along and just hoped that something would come up to save the day…. such as the applicant dropping out, for example? Or were their lawyers giving them more bad advice on top of the apparently bad original advice?

It would certainly explain why they were so desperate to prematurely declare the entire thing over. Was Cllr Peter Abraham, who chaired the committee that made this poor decision, aware of the situation just a few weeks ago when he made this statement?

“Our cross-party Committee last year considered all the facts extremely carefully in this complex matter, taking all proper professional and legal advice.  We were therefore disappointed when a local person applied to the High Court to challenge our decision.”

In a less than gallant statement, Cllr Abraham today blamed the people who had the temerity to challenge his apparently indefensible decision:

“Although a High Court Judge in an earlier hearing urged compromise, it is very disappointing that those concerned have preferred instead to run up ever-growing lawyers’ bills – many of which will ultimately be carried by the taxpayer. I support this pragmatic decision today, so as to begin to draw a line under this matter.”

There is another article in the Post, which appears to be an editorial comment on the issue, which takes the spin to an even greater level:

In fact, what the council has done here has helped the situation.

This is because the council has deftly avoided what could have been enormous legal costs. And those costs would have come from the pockets of Bristol taxpayers.

So for that the council deserves credit. In fact this is exactly the sort of common sense decision making that we have so often demanded.

No mention of how it was the council’s poorly fudged decision that caused this in the first place? No mention of how they insisted that it was all done properly and forced it to court instead of simply rectifying the mistake? BCC manufactured this entire mess and SAVE has been utterly vindicated in their challenge.

I sincerely hope that this will mean that costs will be awarded to SAVE too. This affair has been a waste of the court’s time and taxpayers’ money.

There is a far better article on Bristol 24-7 that provides a more critical view of the issue that Post readers will have missed, which accuses the council of being ‘brazen’:

The council said it had withdrawn its defence of the decision by councillors last summer to split the site – allowing for Bristol City FC to build its new stadium in the northern half while the remainder was kept as a town green.

It said it will now refer the issue to an independent inspector to consider, who will make recommendations to councillors for them to consider all over again.

However, this is a false interpretation of the process, the expert told Bristol24-7, and that the council would instead have to either fight or accept the initial findings of an independent inspector – who recommended in 2010 that the entire Ashton Vale site being registered as a town green.

He added that the council had been “brazen”, pointing out that the High Court judge had not even been informed of their decision yet, while the local media were told first last night.

Meanwhile, he said there had been a “capitulation” on two other arguments: a final acceptance that the council had not marked the correct town green area in final documents, and that new evidence presented following the first independent inspector’s report was not admissable.

It would seem that the council is even possibly mishandling their withdrawal from the defence.

Colin sexstone sounds rather less enthusiastic than the council about the failed defence:

“Sadly, it’s down to just a few people and a number of outside organisations who’ve lost Bristol the chance to have a new stadium,” he told Jack FM.

“It was going to be such a wonderful development opportunity but now that could be gone and that is so, so sad.”

As I have said several times before, there are alternative sites available at Ashton Gate and Alderman Moores. Both of these could, especially if used in combination, provide the club with everything they need. This needn’t be the end of it.

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44 Comments

  1. Monkeh
    Posted 4th May, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Anthony I’d just like to point out that the orginal inspector has now retired which could be the reason why a new one will be appointed,
    But I don’t trust anything Bristol City Council say

    • Anthony Butcher
      Posted 4th May, 2012 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Thank you. I didn’t know that she had retired. I have updated the article slightly so that it makes more sense now.

  2. Monkeh
    Posted 4th May, 2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure if I’m correct anthony so you may want to check,
    my facts are clouded by my pro stadium stance so it would be better for you to double check as well given your stance on the situration,
    in the intrest of fairness

  3. Martyn
    Posted 4th May, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Antony
    I think the “true” legal position is very well portrayed in the Bristol 247 article – it is up to the judge not BCC to decide outcome. As I understand it, the only real issue to be decided was whether the land fill operation was still active within the 20 year period- stopping full registration of site. Part registration by BCC (although incorrect area) destroyed any evidence of lack of use supplied by land owners.

  4. James
    Posted 4th May, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I am still rather confused. On the council website it explains that the application from TVG supporters was for the council to consider afresh the non-registration of the Northern part of the site as a Town or Village Green, by referring back evidence relating to this matter to an independent expert inspector to consider, and make recommendations accordingly to the council committee which will then decide the matter afresh.

    If that is the case (and clearly, the council are incompetent fools anyway, so I may not have the full picture of the appeal) then why would the legal challenge proceed as you suggest, if the council intend to do exactly that?

    As I have asked many, many times of you Anthony, what exactly is the legal action that Long Ashton Parish Council has funded? What outcome, other than the process beginning again, is the legal action aiming to produce? I am baffled..

    • Anthony Butcher
      Posted 4th May, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Hi James, as I have said before, I am not going to comment on the specific legal issues firstly because I am not directly involved and so don’t have enough understanding to talk authoritatively on them and secondly because I wouldn’t want to risk giving anything away.

    • Timmy M
      Posted 4th May, 2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      James, If you are not getting the answers to your questions can I perhaps suggest the Freedom of information Route?

      • James
        Posted 4th May, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        Timmy, thanks, that seems as though it may just have to be the route, especially as a further £5000 appears to have been committed, which, although the minutes may be confusing me, seem to add up to a total spend so far of £15,000 to fund something that none of the parish notes actually clarify.

        I’m just a bit surprised that Anthony, is not prepared to say for what, and to what ends, has the free gift been granted to this pressure group, surely it can’t be a secret.

        • bobs
          Posted 8th May, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

          Still – LAPC will get all their money back now anyway, given that BCC have kindly agreed to throw in the towel and pay everyone’s legal costs.

          Looks like LAPC did back the side of justice after all – wth BCC not even challenging the allegations of illegality, bias and procedural unfairness.

          Well done LAPC.

  5. Timmy M
    Posted 4th May, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Horay! I can now go ice skating on the Village Green as planned this year then!

    Viva Democracy! (in the loosest term)

    Anthony I think you will find we have exhausted many ideas for a new stadium. There will always be a eco warrier from London or wherever deciding to go on an crusade in order to block the development.

    Bristol is a complete laughing stock, held to ransom by a very vocal minority of what seems to be professional anti development campaigners

    • Anthony Butcher
      Posted 4th May, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      I don’t believe that the ideas have been exhausted yet. I think that we could make both sites work with all the facilities that they wanted at Ashton Vale, perhaps even with an increase in available parking. The Alderman Moores area has roughly the same footprint as the approved Ashton Vale site.

      It is worth remembering that today’s news is solely about how the council has made a poor decision that would have long term consequences, refused to rectify it and forced local people to take them to court to acknowledge their mistake.

  6. bobs
    Posted 4th May, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Bristol is not a complete laughing stock. It is repeatedly found in studies to outperform other cities.

    Respect for green spaces and opposition to building on those spaces is a good thing.

    BCFC still have planning permission to redevelop Ashton Gate, as they did before all of this BRT/Stadium/Link Road/Greenbelt housebuilding scheme.

    • Chris
      Posted 10th May, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Outperform other cities in what area?

      I mean its a wealthy area, but for a large city the facilities are, frankly, pathetic.

      I work in Wales with a load of people who live around Cardiff and it breaks my heart to listen to them crowing about how backwards my home town is.

      The real issue here is, would this land qualify as a TVG under the new qualifying rules? Not a cat in hells chance, because it so clearly isnt anything of the sort.

      ‘bobs’ can crow about it too, but that fact should not be overlooked, the residents hardly have any grounds for moral victory.

      • bobs
        Posted 10th May, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        Oh Chris – you are deluding yourself again. The Inspector’s report shows Ashton Vale to be a textbook Town Green within the meaning of the law (as opposed to the meaning in your head).

        If your case was so great, your side wouldn’t have thrown in the towel.

        They have now won a legal victory . Its all over. I expect BCC will dodge and duck for a while still but they will have to register the whole site as TVG or get into even more legal bother than they are already.

        And I have never heard anyone Welsh talk about how crap Bristol is compared to Cardiff. Why do so many of them move to live here ! The cities are not comparable. Bristol is a far superior place to live and work. If you hate it so much, go and live in Cardiff.

        • Chris
          Posted 21st May, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

          Bobs,

          You think i’m deluded?!

          If you actually bother to read my post, you will notice I asked if the land would be considered a TVG under the NEW guidance.

          Clearly it is nothing of the sort, you selfish bunch have abused this well meaning legislation so badly the law has actually been changed!

          You sir, are a disgrace.

          • Harry Hunt
            Posted 21st May, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

            And you, sir, are indeed delusional.

            To suggest that the law has been changed purely on the basis of the Ashton Vale case is as ridiculous as those who say the case has made Bristol a laughing stock.

            Apart from the local media and a few football fan forums, almost nobody outside of the Bristol area is even aware that a second division football club has been not been allowed to build on the Green Belt. The coverage in the national press has been almost non-existent.

            The law has been changed precisely because it was so successful at allowing working class communities to protect the green spaces near their neighbourhoods right across the country from developers. The Tories are only concerned with protecting the sort of village greens that are almost never threatened by developers.

            What the new law will do is make it even harder for working class communities across the city to stop their green spaces being sold off in the future.

            You are the disgrace, and should be ashamed of yourself.

          • Chris
            Posted 22nd May, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

            Harry,

            There is nothing delusional in suggesting that this under used piece of scrub land is nothing like a ‘village green’, it is plainly obvious to anyone without stinking bias.

            The law wasn’t changed because of some under hand government conspiracy, that is utterly ridiculous. It was changed precisely to stop people using this legislation from stopping developments, housing and investment tat the country so badly needs on spurious grounds.

            I also note your pitiful reference to ‘working class’ communities, like class has anything to do with it. Once again that is just a selfish person desperately trying to justify selfish actions.

            I am immensely proud of my home town, and unlike a few old timers I am very keen to see it progress and keep pace with other cities. We aren’t lucky enough to get large government subsidies as a city and have to provide for our own futures.

            What should never be forgotten is that this whole application is based on grossly exaggerated claims of usage for this land, and that is where the true disgrace lies.

          • bobs
            Posted 22nd May, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

            Chris

            now that Sexton is after redeveloping AG and forgetting about AV, we can all be on the same side.

            AV is dead in the water for a stadium. The Council has all but accepted it will be TVG now. BCFC still has planning permission to turn AG into a 30,000 seater with conference facilities. It has existing road access and a train line and station which can be opened for a fraction of the price of the BRT.

            If you truly loved this city, you would be jumping at the AG option. Its a no brainer to everyone except for those hoping to turn profit on dodgy land deals. Anyone who supports those deals is an enemy of the city.

          • bobs
            Posted 22nd May, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

            Also – under the new guidelines for TVGs (which are not yet law and for which there is no deadline for when they might become law) Ashton Vale would still be a TVG.

            1. The application was submitted prior to any planning permission being given

            2. It still satisfies the new proposed TVG test as it does the existing legal test.

            Its all irrelevant anyway as the Inspector has ruled that it is a TVG and the Council now accepts that it has to follow the inpsector’s recommendation (once this so called “new” evidence had been dismissed).

          • Chris
            Posted 23rd May, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

            Bobs,

            As Sexton is no longer associated with the club, I don’t think his comments are especially relevant.

            I’m not saying the club won’t (or shouldn’t) look at redeveloping Ashton Gate, only that it’s not his decision any longer.

            We shall have to wait and see what happens next, I don’t believe for a second that Ashton Vale would qualify as a TVG under the new legislation, it doesn’t meet the criteria for usage or ‘quality’ (In my opinion, it’s subjective I know).

            Don’t forget that the new legislation will also make re-registration of existing TVG’s much easier, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this is the angle that Lansdown’s legal team hope to pursue.

            Anyway, it isn’t over just yet. It’s not looking good, but I don’t think the council’s decision not to contest the JR means the land automatically gets registered as TVG because that isn’t what the JR was about. There is nothing to stop this going back to the PRoW committee and the same decision being made if the judge allows that.

            Hand on heart though, I don’t expect the development to proceed now. To suggest that ‘we can all be on the same side now’ though is absurd. The actions of the applicants has been immoral, dishonest and could cost South Bristol big time. I’m not going to forgive you for that.

          • Chris
            Posted 23rd May, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

            Bobs,

            By the way, this is incorrect;

            1. The application was submitted prior to any planning permission being given

            In fact a TVG application will be able to be thrown out if the land is subject to a planning application under the new guidance, permission does not have to have been granted already.

            If my memory serves me correctly, the TVG application was made well after the planning application in this case.

          • bobs
            Posted 23rd May, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

            Chris

            This is all rather academic as the proposals are not even in a draft bill. They are just contained in a review.

            However, the new proposal is that:

            1. if the TVG application is made in time, it will be considered as part of the planning application process

            2. if the TVG post dates the planning permission, it is too late.

            The AV TVG was put in prior to the planning committee considering the planning application. They just chose to ignore the fact that the TVG application had been made.

            Anyway, its all irrelevant as this TVG has proceeded according to the 2006 rules and will continue to be considered according to the 2006 rules.

            Whilst there is a bland comment in the review about TVG land having to “look” like TVG land, this has been considered by case law before in detail (see Trap Grounds) and rejected as it is meaningless and will only act to rule out poorly maintained greens in working class areas whilst supporting some picture book idea of what a middle class green looks like. The whole point of TVG law going back almost 1,000 years is that the test is about use and not looks.

        • bobs
          Posted 23rd May, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

          Also Chris – its about time you dropped this whole thing about AV people being immoral and dishonest.

          1. Its just not true and anyone who was at the public inquiry knows this.

          2. Much of the landowners’ “new” evidence is immoral and dishonest and has been shown as such by photographic evidence

          3. It just makes you look like a bad loser like Sexton.

          • Chris
            Posted 23rd May, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

            What I said is that I believe (again, in my opinion) that Ashton Vale is a million miles away from meeting the usage or quality criteria under the new legislation.

            In fact, I’ll go one step further and say that the new guidance could have been drawn up with this case in mind. The whole point of the new draft is to stop vexatious TVG applications from hindering precious investment, and that is precisely what has happened here.

            Now you can disagree, as I’m sure you will, but I think more people feel the way I do than support the TVG.

            You are correct that a TVG application would be considered as part of the planning process, but then in a roundabout way it would be anyway, in the sense that any recreational use of land would be weighted against the value of the development during a ‘normal’ planning application.

            What is removed is the ability to use TVG legislation to completely by-pass planning processes. It is undemocratic and unfair in a lot of instances. I didn’t elect Ross Crail to make decisions like this, did you? Did anyone?

            As I also said, I don’t think this is a done deal just yet, but carry on with the victory declarations if you wish. Ultimately, if you do succeed a very small number of people will be happy, and a much wider community will have lost out.

            Lastly, I will tell you that I have lived locally for many many years and can see the site from my house (although not clearly I will admit). I don’t need an inspector or your good self to tell me how much that land is used, I know how much it is used thank you very much.

  7. bobs
    Posted 4th May, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    And Ross Crail does appear to still be in practice.

    I don’t think she retires for another 20 years or so …

    http://www.newsquarechambers.co.uk/Members/Member.aspx?MemberID=36

    • Monkeh
      Posted 4th May, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Thanks bobs I said I wasn’t sure,
      I’ll wait and see a statment from the landownsers and the nimbys before I celebrate anything,

      But we can all agree BCC are not fit to run a tap

  8. Paul
    Posted 4th May, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Where were the councils legal dept. in all of this. They signed off the decision by the PROW ctte. and then allowed somebody to draw up a map that was obviously deceitful at best and fraudulent at worst. Although I have no sympathy for Cllr. Abraham, my guess is some of the others took the legal advice as presented, and made what they thought was a legal decision.

  9. A WALKER
    Posted 4th May, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    I think this is good political move by the Council and a potentiallysad day for the applicants. The Council were clearly given advice that they were likely to lose at the JR in which case it would have referred back to them again. What they have done is say we want to get rid of this hot potato and get a decison made. A new inquiry puts the ball back in Lansdown’s Court as he will throw all his millions at discrediting the pro green evidence. Who would you back in that scenario? Be interesting though in the second report comes out it favour of registration !!

  10. Bobh
    Posted 4th May, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Surely A Walker all that has happened is that the BCC will not present a defence in the review.
    That is an acceptance of guilt,they are saying we were wrong in the registration process.
    They i presume will now accept all costs in the case as they have lost the review.
    The original reason for the review is unchanged they have accepted that they carried out the registration process incorrectly.
    What reason is there for the Judge not to give a judgment as the applicants have done nothing wrong.
    It is for the BCC to correct thier errors,as they have admitted guilt.
    The judge could easily ask for the BCC to rerun the registration process on the original inquiry as there in no judgment on that,all that is at fault is the registation process.
    And if no reason not to register exists then the site will be registered as recommended.
    If just withdrawing from a case actually kills the whole thing then BCC could have done that at the start of the JR.
    Withdrawing will not alter the case it is still the same,it is just that the BCC have pleaded guilty.
    You can`t wriggle out of your responsibilities by just saying i am not going to play,i want to start again to see if i can win and if i loose then i will repeat the whole thing again.
    This is an attempt by the BCC to spin their way out of the situation with the usual help from The Post.
    I hope the legal authorities stamp on it hard.

  11. A WALKER
    Posted 5th May, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    What the landowners and the Council did, was think that the original inquiry was a forgone conclusion and did not think they would lose. As such they did not put that much effort into it. Once the Council’s expert found otherwise the Council has tried to ignore that advice (which they are perfectly entitled to do) but have apparently failed to implement their preferrred chocie in a legal way. They have therefore gone back to the original “lets employ an expert to give us a legal opinion” procedure in a scenario when the whole political attitude towards Green applications is changing and with a landowner who is in the last chance saloon and is in fight to the legal finish. What I am saying that the odds are they will put up much more of a legal fight this time.

    • Mark
      Posted 5th May, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      The original inquiry had barristers on both sides. Vence’s QC was a fully-trained TVG Inspector. When the final report was eventually released by the Council, they then gave Vence nearly a year to find even more evidence. They were in the last-chance saloon then, too. If they didn’t come up with anything that would stand up to scrutiny then, what are they likely to find now?

  12. Bobh
    Posted 5th May, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Mr A Walker,the inquiry was the process given to the TVG applicants and the council to investigate the TVG.
    The view that the Council didn`t try very hard can be equaly applied to the applicants
    who may have thought they would not win.
    The fact is that the inquiry took place and was concluded in favour of the applicants,thats it,you can`t have a rerun just because you did not like the result,or you did not try very hard.
    I believe the comment from the Council ref Grove Wood (now a TVG)was that they wanted and independant inquiry as not to be seen favouring any side in the application.
    The same applies in Ashton,trying to alter the recommendation after the event by incorrect legal processes can not be allowed to happen.
    It is not a legal fight it is legal fact,Ross Crail said in the report that there was no reason to disbelieve the oral and written submissions by the applicants.
    The submissions are going back 20years and they lived on the site,the BCC did not,pretty difficult to argue against.

  13. Martyn
    Posted 5th May, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    The applicant’s should proceed with the JR. The courts have recently extended the idea of fairness to prevent abuses of power where public bodies have sought to go back, without sufficient justification, on promises made (called ‘legitimate expectations’). BCC stated the matter would be dealt with by an inquiry and they would abide by result. They have used this inquiry proceedure in other TVG disputes. Hence TVG report will be only basis for a decision. The worst the judge will do is order the new evidence back to Ross Crail – re Chaston v Devon County Council

  14. Paul
    Posted 5th May, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Surely the JR was into whether the PROW Ctte. had given their decision legally, taking into account the members had not scutinised the new evidence themselves, and this evidence had not been “tested” by the inspecter. The withdrawel is an indication that the council now believes it acted unlawfully which leaves a question mark on the original legal advice it was given by its’ own legal dept. who should shoulder much of the blame. As I see it, we are back to a situation where the council has accepted the evidence to prove the south part of the site qualifies as a village green and they will now have to make a new decision on the northern part, but by legal means only.

  15. A WALKER
    Posted 6th May, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    We are indeed back to square one and the new Inspector’s opinion will supersede the previous one by Crail. What I am saying is different people draw different conclusions or else we would not have an appeal system in the Courts. In recent years there has been a whole industry building up about VG legislation and what I am saying is that I believe the legal challenge is likely to be more “robust” this time around. I find the debate finely poised.

    • Anthony Butcher
      Posted 6th May, 2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      I don’t really see how or why there would be a new inspector used. Only the ‘new evidence’ needs to be examined and it would make complete sense to send it to the existing inspector for her to see how it fits in.

      I also think that the ‘back to square one’ headline in the Post is very misleading. That is not the case at all. There is no magic reset button because they will lose the judicial review.

  16. Martyn
    Posted 6th May, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Of course we are not back to square one.
    BCC have registered the southern half of the site and are proposing for an inspector – not a new inspector – to revisit their decision on the northern half. If I were the applicant’s I would insist that this is Ross Crail if an out of court settlement is of interest to them. I personally beleive they should proceed to the JR and test the legitimate expectations doctrine as this will undoubtably end the dispute.

  17. A WALKER
    Posted 6th May, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    You are of course quite right in that it is not the whole of the site up for registration but the northern section will go through another inquiry. As an Inspector is effectively an expert employed by the Council I suppose they can employ whoever they like and I am unsure what say the applicants would have in the matter. It is clear that Bristol Council are losing the will to fight much longer on this case and I agree that asking Crail to look again would be a wise thing to do. One can argue that she has looked before but I dont know exactly what evidence has been produced or its credibility. If indeed procedurally this move is fundamentally flawed then no doubt they will get found out.

  18. Mark
    Posted 6th May, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Mr Walker, the ‘new evidence’ is on the Bristol City Council website as part of the PROWG documentation. The subsequent refutation of this evidence isn’t though, as far as I’m aware.
    If I remember correctly, the committee members were told that it existed, but they didn’t have to read it. In fact, I believe several of the members later admitted not even having been provided with a copy, and having to ask around for it on the day.

    Here is a redacted copy: http://sacredspring.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/applicants-submission-30-10-11.pdf

  19. Mark
    Posted 6th May, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Mr Walker, here is document provided to the PROWG members.

    Note the fully-appended submission on the part of the landowner provided to the committee, and the 4 paragraph summary of the Applicant’s response – the full response was not provided to the committee members.

    https://www.bristol.gov.uk/committee/2011/wa/wa005/0616_10.pdf

    A member’s own admission later:

    “The photos from 1992/3 clearly show the area grassed over and with footpaths running across it. It is not a tip at that point – just no way”

    “the photos were not in the papers for yesterday’s meetings and I made a special request to see them”

    “the one from late 1989 clearly shows a muddy field, not an operational tip. It is not in the slightest bit inconclusive on this point. The ones from a few years later show a grassy field with a path running across”

  20. Paul
    Posted 7th May, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    I agree with Martyn. There is a bigger issue here into whether the Council acted legally and that should be put to the test at a JR. If not, then those responsible should be held to account.

  21. Bobh
    Posted 7th May, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    http://e2edocs.bristol.gov.uk/wam/doc/other-529791.pdf?extensions=
    Mark if you wish to see the evolution of the land in Ashton Vale the above PDF has its history,including aerial photographs.
    Of note is the Photo of April 1988 that shows that tipping had ceased in the top part of the north site by this time,and it was grass.
    Also note that the strip of land directly behind Silbury road was never tipped on and remains as it was from the Tithe maps.
    The field boundry was remade by the last tip site,that is still visible in the 1988 photo.
    The colour Photo that shows DLC being build is incorrectly dated,it says 1984 i think it should be 1994.
    That is not the complete address for the pdf but it will find it.

  22. John
    Posted 7th May, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    I have just written to the council and asked for a public enquiry. This is either gross incompetence or it is not. If it is then officers should be called to account. At the moment there is a really nasty smell about the whole business. We deserve the truth, after all it is all taxpayers, and ratepayers who are out of pocket here

  23. Martyn
    Posted 7th May, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    It stinks of misfeasence.
    You could think the Council forced a JR in the hope that the applicants would not have the will or resources to pursue it. Probally didn’t bank on a “no win no fee” legal offer being available to them. Fiasco with the discontinuence of the ciaim, alledged bribery and now dropping all defence – serious questions need to be asked

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