NSDC - Withdraw enforcement notices
NSDC - Withdraw enforcement notices
Why this petition matters
We ask the council planning office to withdraw a series of manifestly excessive enforcement notices and engage with the paddock owners constructively and in good faith to find a way forward with these issues.
It is with real regret we have been unable to find a way forward with the issues around the planning application for paddocks on New Lane, Blidworth, before enforcement letters were sent on Monday 11th July 2021. This turn of events not only saddens the owners, it leaves us
questioning the integrity and credibility of the planning office, it’s representatives and indeed the entire planning process, for reasons we shall illustrate in turn.
On May 25th 2021, a meeting was held on New Lane, Blidworth. This meeting was attended by representatives of the NSDC Planning Office, a local councillor and several paddock holders.
The meeting discussed various issues regarding the land and our proposals. At this meeting, the paddock holders made clear our motivation for purchasing the land (for the keeping of horses) and our intentions for our modest proposals therein (stables, shelters and other necessary utilities for the animals’ welfare). The NSDC planning office representatives stated they could not foresee any issues with this, as it would be in-keeping with the local area and would make use of previously unused, overgrown land that had not been maintained for many years.
The paddock holders asked about water supply and fencing and service connections. In response to these questions, it was stated that the council had no interest in any of these utility developments as they did not require planning permission. The paddock holders then asked about whether they should make use of the pre-planning process, to which we were expressly told there was no point in doing so, as ‘it’s not going to tell us anything different to what you are telling us now’. The paddock holders were encouraged to group as many applications together as possible to make it a ‘smooth and easier process’ and to engage a planning consultant to prepare the relevant documentation. The paddock holders were told you ‘could not see any problem with this type of use, that is permitted within the green
belt’. As a summary note, the paddock holders also distinctly remember the planning representatives making clear at this meeting that ‘we are not here to ruin anyone’s dreams’.
The council have now flatly refused all planning and issued manifestly excessive enforcement letters. Adding insult to injury, the enforcement letters are signed by one of the planning officers that visited the paddocks in May 2021. If one objectively analyses the story of these planning applications in turn from the very beginning, it becomes stunningly apparent that there are serious issues that require addressing with the utmost urgency.
Not only have council planning office representatives visited the paddock holders and said one thing, only to do the opposite (in front of a witness, a local councillor) over the last week a number of the enforcement letters served were sent to incorrect addresses; multiple paddock owners have received letters regarding land they have no interest in. Some of these letters contained sensitive information, including names and addresses. I note the enforcement letters state the land registry was consulted before these sensitive documents were sent out; the irony here is not lost upon me. This not only raises questions of competence – it makes one wonder just how much due care and attention Newark and Sherwood District Council really pays to the administration of local affairs.
In view of the above, it has become apparent over the last week the Planning office has a devil may care attitude toward local residents, the security of personal data and consistency with local planning decisions. I do not say this lightly, but we have been made
to feel like second class citizens by the Newark and Sherwood District Council Planning Office.
The current Government agenda focuses on levelling up - as the Countryside Alliance stressed in a recent article, rural Britain needs levelling up too. Part of that agenda must surely include opportunities for working people to own property and give back to
their community. Throughout the process, as a collective we the paddock owners have sought to follow the rules, take appropriate advice and wait patiently before simply acting.
We have not sought to develop excessive structures or have any kind of impact on the local area – we have only applied for what is needed for the welfare of our animals, in line with advice on best practice given by authorities such as the British Horse Society. Shelter for animals, particularly horses, is essential – especially in the era of climate change, where
bouts of extreme weather (in all seasons) are becoming more common.
The paddock holders engaged in the process in good faith, took advice and this is how we have been repaid. This is not a fair or acceptable way for hard working members of a local community to be treated by their local authority.