URGENT Fundraising request to Little Gaddesden Village
Little Gaddesden Parish Council has been asked by residents to review a surprise decision made by Dacorum Borough Council regarding Church Road.
LGPC has taken and funded out of its funds initial formal legal advice, which concludes that if judicially reviewed there is a reasonable argument that the decision by Dacorum be held irrational by the courts and the settlement agreement reached between Dacorum and the occupants of the land be annulled.
LGPC are in detailed discussions with Dacorum to try and reach some type of alternative settlement to avoid a legal challenge. The costs of such legal challenge would be up to £15k for the initial stage to obtain permission to make the challenge and then perhaps the same again for the second stage when the matter is actually decided. If the challenge was lost LGPC would be responsible for an element of the other sides costs.
There is a deadline of the 8th January to start legal proceedings. If the case is to be pursued funds will need to be raised from residents and a number of residents have actively approached us with commitments.
Accordingly, residents are being asked now for written non-binding commitments towards funding this action if it is decided it should be pursued. Given this timing LGPC pledged monies would need to be paid at the latest by January the 7th following the meetings mentioned below. Without sufficient funds the challenge would most likely not go ahead. Although non-binding, decisions will be made on the back of the commitments so should not be given without a firm intention to follow through.
The Decision and Impact
Dacorum Borough Council have signed an agreement with the land owners/occupants of Church Road, which is summarised as follows:.
- Occupants: To withdraw the appeal against the S215 notice (untidy land notice)
- Occupants: To remove the DAF truck and caravan before 5th
- Occupants: Are allowed to return caravan for seasonal agricultural use.
- Dacorum: To allow the extended shed to remain, irrespective of planning Inspectors appeal decision, which is still outstanding.
- Dacorum: To stop the S215 action.
Unfortunately, neither the Parish Council nor the local Dacorum Borough Councillor, who has worked with the Parish Council throughout, were made aware of this agreement before it was signed.
Residents and LGPC are troubled by many aspects of the agreement, particularly item 4 where the normal planning process has been bypassed. In addition to the planning impact, we are concerned there will be a continuation of the serious harassment that residents have experienced over the last three years.
Raising Money and Pledges
Any amount of money is welcome. The money to be raised will be held in a separate LGPC bank account. The money will be used exclusively for any legal work concerning Church Road. When/if an agreed position is reached with Dacorum, or a decision is taken not to pursue legal action, any unspent money would be returned either in whole or on a pro-rata basis. Residents should be aware that any legal action is inherently risky and expensive and for example if the legal case was lost there would be a strong possibility no monies would be returned and the current agreement would remain in force.
Monies will not be returnable in any other case i.e. you cannot just ask for your money back once paid.
Pledges at this stage should be made by way of email sent to the email@example.com stating Church Road Pledge in the subject line. Emails should be received by the 3rd January 2024 so we have an idea of what will be possible. The details for the actual payment in January are as below.
LGPC Bank Account Details are as Follows:
Sort Code: 60-02-21, Account Number: 54-22-10-64, Bank: NATWEST
Account Name: PARISH CNCL LITTLE GADDESDEN, Reference: Your Surname
To keep our logistics simple, could you also send the Clerk a note confirming your name, amount, date of transfer, phone number, email and bank details (for returns)…(firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Way Forward
LGPC are meeting with Dacorum on Thursday 4th January at 12pm.
Formally, LGPC have called two extraordinary meetings of the Council. The first, on Tuesday 2nd January at 7:30pm pm in the Village Hall, to update everyone on activities and the approach we are taking on your behalf. The second, on Thursday 4th January at 7:30pm in the Village Hall is to agree the way forward. Please come if you can.
Paul Kelly, Chair on behalf of Little Gaddesden Parish Council