Report from I.W. Councillor Roger Mazillius

Posted by IWC Admin on Saturday, 30th January 2010, 00:00

COUNCILLOR ROGER MAZILLIUS
I.W. COUNCILLOR FOR
COWES SOUTH & NORTHWOOD
21 OXFORD STREET, NORTHWOOD
ISLE OF WIGHT PO31 8PT
Tel: 01983 295556
Email:
roger.mazillius@iow.gov.uk

REPORT – FEBRUARY 2010

My report this month is on the settlement of my village green application on terms agreed with the landowners which will be placed before the Council’s General Purposes Committee for approval on either the 8th February or possibly earlier if a suitable date can be agreed.

I have spoken to a majority of residents who have made statements in support of the application and they have told me they will support the settlement terms, recognising the possibility of the whole application being dismissed on legal or evidential issues.

We have agreed that the lower two-fifths of the field that is the part next to the Pallance Road footpath will be legally granted village green status with the dividing line straightened to give a parallel boundary, facilitating the existing agricultural letting, which continues over the whole field as before.

The difference between these agreed terms and those originally recommended to the Committee is that the landowner has agreed as part of the terms of settlement to grant a two metre permissive right of access around the northern (Pallance Road) and eastern (Harry Cheek Gardens) boundaries of the upper part accessed from the Wyatts Lane footpath. He will erect a temporary fence across the dividing line up to the boundary of the CS14 public footpath and put a gate in the Pallance Road end for the pedestrian access round the upper part. The effect of this will be that pedestrians will enjoy use of the field virtually as before although they will be more on notice not to let dogs run unsupervised around the field and leaving uncollected dogs’ muck. If this does occur, the landowner can consider withdrawing the permissive right. He will also have this right if residents cause damage to the field or abuse the permissive right by using the field in such a way as to cause an identifiable nuisance to other users, nearby home-owners, the farmer who rents the field etc.

As such abuses have not occurred in the past, or if they have, have not been complained about as such apart from possibly dog deposits, I do not feel such abuses will suddenly occur now.

It is most unlikely in my opinion that any planning permission will be granted in respect of this upper part in my lifetime or for many years, but if that did occur then I would assume the permissive right would be withdrawn.

This has been an extremely difficult matter to resolve. The landowner considers he has a strong case both in legal and evidential terms whilst I feel the same. However, I have two legal hurdles to overcome following the Independent Inspector’s original directions, one of which follows an important legal decision about the operation of a 2000 Act by which I would need to amend my original 20 years of use period from 1980 to 1984. This would be strenuously opposed by the landowners legal team because if successful, I would probably be able to defeat his defence of stopping up the use by erecting a fence to protect walkers from his drainage trenches. The other relates to the stopping up of CS14 during the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak. In addition I learned recently that the landowner also has evidence both written and in photographs which on the face of it could defeat the evidence of two of my witnesses.

My main concern is finding that the whole of my application is defeated by more skilled legal arguments than I can bring. So I have decided that the terms agreed represent a good result for residents in all the circumstances. The use of both parts of the field will continue with the substantial lower part being registered as a village green. That alone is a significant result for local residents.

Any concerns about the question of residential development on the upper part will be addressed if or when a planning application is made. At present I believe the land owner when he says he has no plans in the near future to apply (indeed in my opinion his chances of success in so doing are extremely low).

It is open to any resident and the Parish Council to inform the Committee that they do not accept these terms and would wish the application to continue. If the Committee decided a majority or a substantial number of residents were not in favour of the settlement then they could refuse to endorse the terms and make an order reinstating the hearing before the Independent Inspector. If that contrary view did prevail I would make my file available to whoever wished to continue with the case as having “lived” with this case for over 5 years and having an extensive knowledge of its strengths and weaknesses, I would not feel sufficiently confident or indeed motivated to continue against my own best judgement.

I must thank most sincerely all those residents who have supported the application without whose help and evidence, this settlement would not have proved possible.

WHAT A WINTER!

As I am old enough to remember the winters of 1946/47 (walking with my father and a wheelbarrow to collect coal from the depot) and 1962/63 (going down to the main road to collect a crate of milk for our otherwise cut-off road), I still appreciated the hardships caused to many by the heavy snowfall and consequent freezing of roads and pavements.

It is good to recall the many acts of kindness within our community helping housebound and elderly residents to “survive”. I wish to pay particular tribute to Barbara and Mick, Julia, Steve and Jim of Northwood Stores (and all the hardy and conscientious paper boys and girls who delivered our daily papers) for keeping Northwood Stores open and stocked with many of life’s essentials during a very difficult 10 days. Thanks also of course to Sue and her post office staff, the landlords and staff of our two marvellous pubs, Graham and staff at Northwood Garage who kept us supplied with fuel and of course our intrepid local milkmen who did so well in the most difficult of circumstances.

I hope that we will not have a repeat, this winter at least, of such heavy snow and as the days lengthen, we really can look forward to spring!

Finally, Happy New Year to you all!

Roger

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