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Thwarting developers

(34 Posts)
acornfed Thu 02-Nov-17 14:03:13

We live on a settlement edge and the field next to us has been sold to a developer.
It is a greenfield site and backs onto protected ancient woodland. The village has had a tonne of development over the past few years with some very cynical tactics played by the developers (felling ancient trees at nightfall , announcing plans just before Christmas so no one has time to meet and discuss).

How have people successfully thwarted developers? I understand the need for housing but I also think the shameless exploitation of countryside for profit is something to protest against.

The village already has various sites marked for housing possibilities within the boundaries.

Recently the trees on the field were cleared - probably to prepare the ground for planning to go in .

My property overlooks the field and any development would have an effect on the value of our property as the outlook is one of the main features. Our house is on a private Un adopted road- god knows how it would withstand more traffic on it.

Any advice very much appreciated

SilverSpot Thu 02-Nov-17 14:05:18

Our house is on a private Un adopted road- god knows how it would withstand more traffic on it.

If it is a private road, do you have to allow any road access to the new development?

LazyDailyMailJournos Thu 02-Nov-17 14:12:50

Firstly - you need support. If you're a lone voice then you'd better hope for a mass colony of rare crested newts or similar, because otherwise you're toast. Speak to the other people on your road, marshal support.

Secondly, you need a good planning consultant. Initially to give you some guidance on things that you can do - and which you can realistically expect to achieve. As and when plans are submitted, then the consultant can scrutinise them for you and help you and your neighbours respond with strong counter-arguments.

Finally it's worth getting your own survey of the land done, to check for wildlife. The comment about newts was slightly tongue in cheek, but on a more serious note some lovely and rare wildlife can stop a development literally in its tracks. So it is worth going and having a good look to see if you have any!

acornfed Thu 02-Nov-17 14:32:10


The land is privately owned- can I still get a land survey? How does one get access? Does anyone have any recommendations of good planning consultants or land surveyors?

Also it is a private unmade road and unadopted by the council. Presumably the council can adopt it if there is a new development being built?

LazyDailyMailJournos Thu 02-Nov-17 14:41:56

You'd need to get the landowner's permission for access. But this is where a planning consultant can help you, because they can tell you what you can and can't do. In terms of finding a good one, ask around. If there have been any successful local campaigns where development has been stopped, it's worth contacting the volunteers in those areas and finding out what they did and who they used.

Re: adoption of the road, I presume it would be a condition of the development that the council would have to adopt the road. The volume of traffic on it if nothing else, would make this element unsustainable, as it would need regular maintenance etc.

Be prepared for having to compromise. Unfortunately you cannot object solely on the grounds of having your view ruined. It may be that a suggestion for 50 houses gets knocked down to 20 - so just be prepared for the fact that you may not get an outright rejection.

nameusername Thu 02-Nov-17 15:28:04

I don't know if it might come in handy but there's currently a TV programme called The Planners on BBC 2 and can be viewed on iPlayer online.

acornfed Thu 02-Nov-17 17:19:25

Thank you very much. It seems the village design statement has no power - so many developments have sprung up contravening it. It came as a surprise initially

Blankscreen Thu 02-Nov-17 17:39:03

Do you know who your road is owned by? Is it all the frontagers? If it's not owned by the council there are no implied rights of access over it. You could potentially ransom the developer.

Secondly you need to check out of the land is subject to any restrictive covenants which prevent development. If so who has the benefit of the covenants? If you do you might be it in its tracks or at least make it very difficult and expensive.

You need a specialist development lawyer/ property litigator to do a title review for you.

acornfed Thu 02-Nov-17 17:47:28

Thanks all smile
I will dig out our deeds - I am pretty sure it is the frontagers who own the road

Blankscreen Thu 02-Nov-17 18:06:19

Ok so in that case the development could.potentially have no right of way over the road and you can object.

Thatsnotmycat Thu 02-Nov-17 18:21:59

I also think that realistically you need to think about what exactly you object to, there is a real shortage of housing in the country and unfortunately housing has to go somewhere. So the loss of a view, devaluing of your house etc aren’t planning considerations and therefore wouldn’t be taken very seriously by the planners. Is it increase traffic, will there be overlooking, will there be loss of high level agricultural land, does the development make a logical addition to the village? These are the issues you should be focusing on. I personally wouldn’t spend money on an expensive consultants if you and other including maybe some local councillors can put together a good objection. I’m not saying that consultants aren’t worth the money but realistically you still need to know what your objections are and whether they have any merit. I would certainly recommend speaking to any local councillors to ensure that the application is decided in front of the planning committee and get a feel of what others thoughts are on the scheme. Contrary to belief planners don’t want to approve things that are contrary to policy so if the scheme is contrary then you’ve got a good chance that the planners will try to resist it too.

acornfed Thu 02-Nov-17 18:46:43

Thank you.

Apart from my personal feelings

I think the main points are
- the site backs on a SSSI area which is already under huge pressure from development on each side. I was however amazed to find out natural England only deems a 15 metre clearance to be enough.

- the road is unmade road. If adopted and made into tarmac it would increase the speed of vehicles and stop the rural feel

- the properties are not in a sustainable part of the village -there are no public amenities close by

- the houses all around are not on a sewer system but septic tanks. New drainage would have to be built or do people still want to buy new houses with septic tanks ??

Not sure how many of these are valid reasons

acornfed Thu 02-Nov-17 18:48:31

I believe the road is owned by the frontagers but it still has public access

MissFairfax Thu 02-Nov-17 19:00:33

Try contacting the CPRE (Council for Preservation of Rural England), they may be able to advise or get involved.

Look at your local plan to see whether the field falls outside the village boundary and what the policy is for green belt. Are there any old trees on the site, consider trying to get Tree Preservation Orders. Speak to your local councillors.

You have my sympathy, the villages around here are being destroyed by over development whilst half of the existing thatched properties are second homes and empty for most of the year!

Thatsnotmycat Thu 02-Nov-17 19:23:46

the properties are not in a sustainable part of the village -there are no public amenities close by

From your comments this seems to be the most valid reason for objection and can carry a lot of weight. As you’ve said unfortunately a lot of other objections can be quite overcome such as sewage systems, buffer zones, highway acceptability etc so whilst you should certainly raise these points as objections just be prepared for the relevant bodies to say that they can be overcome by doing x,y and z. Defo keep fighting and get as many people involved as possible and try and keep your personal feelings out of the objection so that you can be consise and to the point. It can be frustrating for planners to use valid objections if people take away the focus from planning issues and start making them personal.

Unfortunately the government has made it too easy for developers to build houses and without paying for essential services. Its becoming increasingly difficult to resist and a lot of villages are straining under the pressure. Good luck!

Flamingale Thu 02-Nov-17 20:11:24

Sorry for being rude but the word that springs to mind is NIMBY of course being the acronym of not in my back yard.

Being a townie, living in a small mid terrace overlooked by everyone and with the view being the houses in front and at back I'm always amazed at viewpoints such as yours.

There I said it and I know I'll get flamed for it.

acornfed Thu 02-Nov-17 20:56:39

Flamingale - you are entitled to your opinion, and that's fine. But let's not derail the thread with presumptions about strangers on the internet.

LazyDailyMailJournos Thu 02-Nov-17 22:09:39

Flamingale if you paid a premium for a house which was in a rural area, very unspoiled and surrounded by fields, do you think you'd be upset if you woke up one day and discovered that the green field you loved looking onto, was about to be swallowed up into a housing development?

allwornout0 Fri 03-Nov-17 16:12:18

We have the same issue where I live. The local council don't give a damn and are taking a huge amount of green belt land out of green belt. They really couldn't care less what they destroy.
It also doesn't help when the local Mayor known for backhanders supports it all.
It would seem they want everyone to feel like they are living in a goldfish bowl with zero privacy, devaluing property that people have worked damn hard to buy and making everywhere a complete eyesore.

Bluntness100 Fri 03-Nov-17 16:17:22

Flamingale, I don’t understand your view point. You must be aware that people buy properties because of the location or the views. Why do you feel that because your home is in a poor location with no views, anyone who purchased otherwise should be willing to sacrifice it withou question?

It’s like someone complaining they paid twenty pounds for a gourmet burger and then getting given a McDonald’s instead and you saying, well I eat McDonald’s, I don’t Give a shit if you paid more for something different, eat it and shut it.

BumWad Fri 03-Nov-17 16:49:17

Same where I live.

There are deer where they have just accepted planning permission opposite our house. Nobody cares


acornfed Fri 03-Nov-17 21:56:15

I went to a parish council meeting. The councillor who is in charge of planning has actually sold green belt land he owned to a developer

Also one of the sponsors of the parish council is a local development company.

I tried to mention deer too on the said tonne developed fields and I got a fairly hostile response about how they were pests confused

acornfed Fri 03-Nov-17 22:03:59

So yes I feel strongly about my property and my quality of life being affected but I also feel very strongly about what I view as cynical and shady practice by developers and in our case, a councillor.

If is was all about affordable housing I could understand it. However there is no altruism - it is about greasy backhanders and cold hard cash.

I hate the fact my home which we have worked so damn hard to pay for and sacrificed a great deal should be sucked up in to someone's greedy venture.

Redactio Fri 03-Nov-17 22:16:47

Where I used to live deer certainly were pests. A badger sett is a better argument.

Redactio Fri 03-Nov-17 22:21:08

Is the councilor you refer to a Tory by any chance?

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