September 2, 2020 4.00 pm This story is over 44 months old

Allotment owners’ anger over housing decision 70yrs ago

Village dispute resurfaces

An angry allotment owner wants to take North Kesteven District Council to court after officers said a planning decision made nearly 70 years ago was still lawful.

Planning officers gave the go ahead in July for the authority to complete a part-built housing application made by the former East Kesteven Rural District Council on land in Walcott in 1951.

Four of the 10 planned homes had been built, despite the development remaining unfinished – and the remaining land has since been rented out as allotments or garden areas for the tenants of the built homes.

However, David Plummer, who moved into his property in November and rented an allotment in January, called the approval a “rubber stamping” exercise and accused the original plans of having been “abandoned”.

He felt the council had a conflict of interest as the owner of the land and should have sought the option of a “neutral authority”.

“It seems ridiculous to me that such a decision could be taken.

“Many planning rules and regulations have passed since the original application was approved and surely, with NKDC both owning the land and wanting to build there, there must be a conflict of interest?

“At the very least, I feel a neutral authority should have been brought in, to assess the case and provide an unbiased opinion.”

Some of the houses were built back in the 50s, however, not all of them were. Photo: Google Streetview

Other residents also contacted the council to evidence the use of the land as allotments.

Mr Plummer has now appointed Richard Buxton Solicitors to apply to the courts for a judicial review.

He has also set up a crowdfunding page which has so far raised £75 of the £5,000 needed, and a Facebook page called “NKDC Judicial Review” in order to back his campaign.

A previous application for planning permission to build four houses on the land was rejected in 1982.

A report before North Kesteven District Council by planning officers said the decision was made on the basis of the evidence available.

“Taking all of the evidence into consideration; we have a raft of evidence submitted by the application, and no evidence of our own or received from third parties to dispute the position argued by the applicant,” said one line of the report.

“It is my opinion that there is already sufficient enough evidence to be able to say that on the balance of probabilities that the 2 pairs of houses built are those permitted under [the 1950] planning permission and that on the balance of probabilities [the] planning permission is extant.”

A spokesman for North Kesteven District Council said: “We are aware of Mr Plummer’s claim.

“The matter is with our solicitors and should Mr Plummer be given leave to make the challenge we will participate fully in the legal process.”