Having acquired a development site in Heybridge, Maldon, obtained planning consent on appeal, and commenced the development of 30 much needed affordable homes, Colne received an application made by a local resident to register the site as a village green under the Commons Act 2006 in July 2011. The application had much local support. If successful the development could not proceed, and the financial loss may have exceeded 1 million. Pending the outcome of the application the build contract had to be put on hold.

Having served Colne’s objection to the application in September 2011, and having collated strong evidence in opposition to the application, the application was referred to be heard at a Public Inquiry.

Any undue delay in the resolution of the application could have rendered the development unviable. It was vital that we secured for Colne the earliest possible Inquiry date. Under threat of judicial review proceedings Essex County Council made an additional slot available in January 2012. The Public Inquiry was held over 4 days and resulted in a positive Inspector’s report recommending that no part of the site should be registered as a village green.

A final decision on the application from the Development and Regulation Committee of Essex County Council is expected at its next meeting scheduled for 27th April 2012.

“Lee Pearce has helped us to resolve a number of property related disputes. His no nonsense, clear and reliable advice coupled with his understanding of our requirements as a modern housing association has ensured the best possible outcomes for us on each occasion.”

Mark Powell Davies, Chief Executive, Colne Housing Society.

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