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SSQ Village Green - The Facts

In these Covid times when there are no public meetings I feel that it is overdue that the truth be made public to counter any fake news going around, so here are some key facts.

1) As the owner of 29A LSSQ, I only made a planning application in 2018 for a direct access to the road for my house because my existing access was threatened.  This threat was carried out and I now only have a restricted access meaning I cannot get larger vehicles in such as removal vans, builders' merchant's lorries or delivery lorries.  I would not have made this application had I not (correctly) thought my access would be restricted.  I can think of better things to spend over £10k on.  Nobody would discuss my application so I picked what I thought was the route that most people would want.  In hindsight I may have chosen wrongly but as I stated in my application I was happy to discuss and change the route.  My route was in fact the most expensive so I certainly would have gone for cheaper.   

2) At a public meeting about my application, a meeting I was not invited to, I was called amongst other things, a criminal.  In fact the application was validated and approved by Wiltshire Council, whatever the case officer (who has now left the council) implied.  Wiltshire Council removed the libel of the parish council from their planning site and also the misleading report of their case officer.  However it took the intervention of the ICO to force Wilts to added a correction to the report in the planning archive.

3) I have been accused of being a land grabber, which is ironic.  The only land grabbing was done by the parish council when in 1982 they claimed to own the whole of this piece of land, including the existing access to the building plot that became 29A.  This existing access ran next to 27's (Pond Cottage) driveway today.  At the time all the area in front of 29/29A was just grass.  The building plot was granted planning permission including the use of this existing access.  In 1986 the parish council repeated their false claim which caused the vendors (previous owners of 29) and the buyer needless expense and a loss of land (around 90m2) to reroute the access for 29A over 29's front garden.  In fact the original and permitted access was over highway land which it is a criminal offence to obstruct.  The parish council continued their false claim to own all this land up to 2016 when I asked for some proof of ownership.

4) The services underneath to 29 and 29A (drains, water and electric) and overhead the telephone cables serving the east end of the village were installed on the land in front of 29/29A when it was all just grass.  The current trees were planted after the 1986 planning permission by the previous owner of 27 (Pond Cottage).  He did this after the parish council gave him money and carte blanche to put the trees where he liked.  There was no consultation on whether the village was happy to lose the open space, nor was the householder consulted, and nor were the utilities which is why electric cables now run directly under trees and telephone cables feeding the east end of LSSQ now thread their way between the branches.  The services were there first and the trees now block access to repair these services when they fail.  Some people in the village seem to oppose any maintenance of these trees, but dead, diseased, or trees causing damage have to be dealt with.

5) Wiltshire Council have stated in court that Openreach have no problem with access from the road.  This is clearly untrue and this was proved when the overhead cable needed to be replaced last month.  Openreach took the decision not to force their legal right to have trees cut back to give access for their cherry picker from the highway but instead deliberately trespassed, despite having been expressly refused permission to use my land.  Openreach arrived at 8am, having apparently travelled up from Somerset, and after a brief knock at the door they drove on to private land and worked until my arrival (earlier than usual) caught them just finishing up.  CCTV records all this episode.  Openreach's CEO has assigned someone to investigate how this wilful trespass could have occurred.  What do you expect will happen the next time the cable needs repair when Openreach won't have the option of trespass, if of course the poles are not moved to in front of the Forge as they would have to be if green status is granted.

6) The parish council is claiming that the land in LSSQ in front of 29/29A is the village green of SSQ, serving the entire parish and has been used by a significant number of SSQ residents for sports or pastimes regularly from 1998 to 2018 (without actually providing any proof). But they are NOT claiming all the grassed area as village green.  The claim is for all of the land in front of my house, 29A, plus it extends in front of 29 as far as the drains for 29A, and it also claims part of the driveway of 27 (Pond Cottage).  In other words all the land used by my services and any potential route for new services to my house, while conveniently leaving 29 space to reroute their services.  As I explained in a previous post Planning Inspectorate guidance says my services will be become criminal if the village green is granted.  No solicitor or council has produced evidence the Planning Inspectorate are wrong and I raised this issue with Wiltshire Council in 2019.

7) There is no "threat" to the green space in front of 29/29A.  Certain people are pushing this idea for their own agenda.  Nor does it need to be a village green to be used for social events.  Highway Act s130 gives the public the legal right of use and enjoyment, ANY use and enjoyment.  However, I would point out that the front wall of 29A is NOT a village wall or public property as some people claim to justify their using it as a public seat.  Like every other front boundary wall it belongs to the householder and I am sure that most people would object if it was their wall.  

8) And last but not least, the Planning Inspectorate told Wiltshire Council, in May 2019, that TVG applications for this land were excluded under 15C.  Defra guidance says in such cases the application should be immediately rejected, yet clearly it hasn't been.  There are clear similarities to the recent Royal Wootton Bassett case, which Wiltshire Council lost at a cost of £43k to the ratepayer, and there were no services under that land or a house behind.  Plus the £43k is what Wiltshire Council paid out and doesn't include their costs so in total the ratepayers lost out to the tune of £100k, at a time when Wiltshire Council were axing special needs schools and other social care.

Despite any rumours we are village people who have lived in Sutton Benger for 38 yrs and visited my (late) mother at 29A, LSSQ on a very regular basis for 34yrs.  In our time we have served our community in playgroup, school, hall committee, and continue to serve the community by running the SB oil buy group, for free, which we have since 2012 and which in fact has users in Sutton Benger, Christian Malford, Draycot Cerne and Upper Seagry.  We are not developers but are just trying to (self) build our future home.  We value the environment which why we live in the countryside.

(this is copy of the post on NextDoor)


by Dr. Radut.