Sunday, 8 February 2009

Planning officers turn blind eye to football pitch destroyed by developers Story Construction Ltd and Senator Homes

Page Contents
  1. What happened
  2. The evidence the Local Government Ombudsman conceal, the council maladministration the Local Government Ombudsman condone, and the council officer's lies the Local Government Ombudsman peddle
  3. Comments and conclusions
  4. Photographs and Plans
What happened

March 2001. Planning permission granted for residential development subject to a Planning Agreement and a planning condition that a football pitch would be retained. The Planning Agreement (section 106 Agreement) required Story Construction Ltd (Story Homes) to transfer the football pitch (plus a commuted sum of £8280) to the council within 12 months of completion of the Planning Agreement (i.e. by 23 March 2002). The council took no action to effect the transfer of the football pitch to the council by the due date. The developers commenced residential development on adjoining land.

2003/2004. The developers, Senator Homes and Story Homes, destroyed the football pitch in breach of the planning condition to retain it, and in breach of the Planning Agreement to transfer it to the council by 23 March 2002. Senator Homes used half of the football pitch as a site compound for the storage of building materials and plant. Story Homes used the other half of the football pitch for the dumping and storage of topsoil and spoil from their adjoining residential development. Planning officers were aware that the developers had destroyed the football pitch, but took no action. The Head of Planning Services, Alan Eales, declared an interest in Story Construction Ltd. The Director of Planning Services also had an interest in Story Construction Ltd.

November 2004. Resident notifies council that football pitch had been destroyed. Enforcement officer inspects.

February/March 2005. Enforcement officer writes that the site would be drained, levelled, and grass seeded in the spring/early summer. This did not happen. The developers top soil the site, but do not grass seed, and leave the site as waste ground.

August 2005. Resident makes formal complaint to council.

September 2005. The developer grass seeds the site, but reinstatement is substandard. There is standing water due to soil compaction, and the developer has to return to carry out drainage work. Reinstatement was not carried out to the standards specified in the Sport England design guidance Natural Turf for Sport. Developer reinstates the site as open space and not as a football pitch. Resident requests referral to Board of Arbitration of local councillors. Council officers ignore the request and disregard the council's complaints procedures.

December 2005. Resident refers complaint to Local Government Ombudsman (LGO).

May 2007. Local Government Ombudsman finds no fault and conceals documented evidence of maladministration causing injustice.

November 2008. Goal posts are erected on the reinstated football pitch (the council had earlier told the LGO there was no demand for football pitches in the area).

The evidence the Local Government Ombudsman conceal and the council maladministration the Local Government Ombudsman condone

The council failed to uphold the obligation in the Planning Agreement and acquire the football pitch before 23 March 2002 together with the commuted payment of £8280. Instead they allowed the football pitch to be destroyed by the developers. That was maladministration. The loss of the football pitch was an injustice to the residents. The Local Government Ombudsman conceal this evidence.

The Council's Local Plan Policy L10 prohibits any development which will result in the loss or encroachment upon school or private playing fields or play space. The council’s Planning Enforcement Policy states the Council will uphold the objectives of the planning policies contained within the Development Plan (which includes the council's Local Plan) and will take action against significant breaches of planning permissions and against development which has not been given approval. But planning officers failed to take action against the developers when they first became aware the developers had destroyed the football pitch in breach of a planning condition. The planning officers did nothing until a resident notified the council that the football pitch had been destroyed. That was maladministration causing injustice. The Local Government Ombudsman conceals this evidence.

The council failed to require the developer reinstate the site as a football pitch in accordance with the planning condition, and to reinstate to the standards specified in the Sport England design guidance Natural Turf for Sport. That was maladministration causing injustice. The Local Government Ombudsman conceals this evidence.

The Local Government Ombudsman report distorts the facts to give a false impression, and peddles the lies of council officers. For instance, the Local Government Ombudsman states there has been some problems in getting work carried out to the standard required by the council - for instance the developer re-seeded a football pitch that was to be retained, it was not done well enough and the council got the developer to re-do it. The complainant accepts this has been done. That statement is untrue and deliberately misleading. The developer did not re-seed the football pitch twice. The complainant did not accept this was done, informed the Local Government Ombudsman of this in writing, but the LGO conceals this.

The facts were that the council failed to transfer the football pitch to the council by 23 March 2002 in accordance with the terms of the Planning Agreement. The commuted sum of £8280 was not paid to the council. The council allowed the developers to destroy the football pitch in breach of a Planning Agreement and planning condition requiring it to be retained. The developers used the football pitch as a site compound and soil dump without planning approval. The developers delayed undertaking reinstatement works, and after grass seeding the site, the developers had to come back to carry out drainage work to remove standing water caused by soil compaction. The reinstatement was substandard, and the land was reinstated as public open space. The Local Government Ombudsman report conceals these facts.

The corrupt Local Government Ombudsman peddle the lies and deceit of council officers. The Local Government Ombudsman report states the council says there is no demand for football pitches in the area. The land is available for informal play and could be marked out in the future if demand existed. But the LGO conceals that the Planning Agreement and planning permission required the football pitch to be retained; conceals that there is no public football pitch in the locality; conceals that the deposited Local Plan identifies the site as Primary Leisure Area; and conceals that the council's Local Plan Policy L10 prohibits any development which will result in the loss or encroachment upon school or private playing fields or play space. The Local Government Ombudsman report fails to mention any of these facts.

Council officers prevent the resident from putting the complaint before a Board of Arbitration of local councillors, so as to conceal the complaint from councillors and force the resident to refer the complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman, in the knowledge that the Local Government Ombudsman is not impartial and is known to cover up council maladministration.

Comments and conclusions

The Local Government Ombudsman finding that the council were not at fault is clear evidence that the LGO are corrupt, prejudiced in favour of councils, deliberately conceal incriminating evidence of maladministration, do not act in the public interest, and condone council malpractice and incompetence. The LGO's decision is perverse, irrational, and unhinged.

Photographs and Plans

 

Above photograph shows the site of the football pitch destroyed by developers Story Construction Ltd and Senator Homes. The foreground shows subsoil and part of what was a massive soil bund (top right) prior to reinstatement.



Another photograph of the site of football pitch destroyed by developers Story Construction Ltd and Senator Homes. The foreground shows subsoil and part of what was a massive soil bund (top right) prior to reinstatement. The darker coloured soil (top left - below block of apartments) is the topsoil that has been reinstated prior to grass seeding.



Above photograph shows the site of the football pitch destroyed by the developers Story Construction Ltd and Senator Homes. The foreground shows the topsoil prior to grass seeding. The substandard reinstatement work is evident.



The above plan is from the Planning Agreement (section 106 Agreement). The top right of the plan (within the area coloured green) shows the football (soccer) pitch to be retained.