Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Village politics

At the meeting with the notary I spoke to the land developer who is turning the field into plots of land, putting in the road and drains. I can't actually do anything on the land until that work is finished (well most of it anyway). He was very optimistic and said that the local planning committee and council needed to give the final go-ahead and then they could get going right away, the whole thing should take only six weeks.

I was away the following two weeks but the local on-line paper reported that the planning council had thrown out the whole development as a recommended distance to the forest had not been met (even though those plots come with special restrictions). It also reported that the developer was unwilling to continue without these plots. The article also said that it would take at least six months for a new plan to go through and that the developer may pull out all together.

This was not a good moment. I had already significant legal costs in play but more importantly all the effort to get to this stage could be lost. If they had to find a new developer it would be back to square one, and even if it was just a new plan it would be a massive delay, more legal costs and more work.

The background to the decision of the committee is linked to politics of several villages in the council area and plans for combined services. These have been very contentious. A change in control of the council and committee exacerbated this problem.

The developer contacted me and said that they were bringing many of the interested parties to the council meeting in the hope that the council would go against the recommendation of the committee. This seemed like a long-shot to me. The developer also said that if they did need to re-plan the site they had negotiated a fast-track six week process, rather than six months. So all was not lost, but certainly it was hanging in the balance.

To my great surprise and relief the pressure from the developer and interested parties did seem to work and the council approved the plan. This should mean no more than a couple of weeks delay but I will be happier once I seem some action on site.

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