Monday, 9 February 2015

Knowle relocation project: Legal notice for 'Disposal' and 'Appropriation' of Open Space: more further information

The Save Our Sidmouth organisation, especially, has been providing a lot of information around the District Council's intention to 'appropriate' land at Knowle - collected together by this blog:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: Legal notice for 'Disposal' and 'Appropriation' of Open Space: Deadline for comments >>> Friday 20th February
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: Legal notice for 'Disposal' and 'Appropriation' of Open Space: further information

Looking at the details, the District Council's own Outline Planning Application for the development of Knowle was rejected in March 2013 -  and the minutes of that meeting clarified that the Open Space should be protected:

RESOLVED: that the application 12/1847/MOUT be refused, contrary to Officer recommendation, for the following reasons:
1. The proposed development incorporates the construction of dwellings on parts of the site currently used as an area of open space which forms an important amenity for residents of Sidmouth and should be retained for the benefit of the community. The proposal does not include alternative provision of equivalent community benefit and it has not been demonstrated that sports and recreation facilities can best be retained and enhanced through the development. Furthermore the Local Planning Authority is not satisfied that the open space is surplus to requirements and the development is therefore considered to be contrary to Policy RE1 (Retention of Land for Sport and Recreation) of the adopted East Devon Local Plan and the guidance of paragraph 74 of the National Planning Policy Framework.
(As agreed at the Development Management Committee meeting held on 7 May 2013 a note is placed on these minutes to clarify that the benchmark used in the assessment of Sidmouth’s park land was based on local standards used by Consultants in the Open Space Study, rather than adopted national standards as was stated at the meeting and recorded in the minutes.)
EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL- Minutes of a special meeting of the Development ManagementCommittee - Friday 1 March 2013

Here is some legal clarification on 'appropriation' of land by public authorities:

Eversheds' Local Government briefing note 42/2011 – Appropriation of Land by Local Authorities
Section 122 of the Local Government Act 1972 and Section 232 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990
General Procedural Requirements
"The decision to appropriate land is, like many administrative actions by public authorities, subject to challenge by judicial review. If private rights or alleged town and village green rights are to be overridden the Council must be especially careful. The Council must be able to demonstrate the purpose for the appropriation and that it has taken all the relevant considerations into account and not taken any irrelevant considerations into account.
"To enable the Council to demonstrate that the decision has been made properly and in accordance with Wednesbury reasonableness, the proposal to appropriate must be the subject of a comprehensive report and decision record or minute. The minutes should show that the land is not currently appropriated for planning purposes and that the Council intends to formally appropriate the land under s.122 LGA 1972 or that the land is currently held for planning purposes and that the Council intends to appropriate the land for alternative planning purposes. If s.122 LGA 1972 is being utilised the minutes must record the resolution that the land is no longer required for the purpose for which it is currently appropriated.
"Advertisements in accordance with s.122(2A) or s.232(4) in respect of open space must give clear information and refer to the intended appropriation, the Council’s minutes must then record that any objections received have been duly considered.
"Appropriations of land are an executive function under the Local Government Act 2000 and so any decision to appropriate land would need to taken by the Cabinet."

Eversheds' Local Government briefing note 42/2011 - Publications - Eversheds LLP - Eversheds International

And yet the question remains as to whether the District Council is following 'the right procedures':

Council rapped after appropriating land designated as public open space
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 15:10
The Local Government Ombudsman has criticised a district council after it appropriated land designated as public open space without following the right procedures.

Local Government Lawyer - Council rapped after appropriating land designated as public open space

Here is further, considerable information on the legalities:
Planning Law and much more: Appropriation of land for planning purposes

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