Thursday, January 05, 2006

Moseley Allotment holders vacant allotment, whilst Councillor claims allotment holders may have been misled by the Council.

The process of vacating Billesley Lane Allotments begins this week. The allotments are very poplar and were the subject of a campaign to save them in 2002.

Two thirds of the allotments must be vacated by Christmas Day. The rest must be vacated by 2018.

Local Councillor, Martin Mullaney, is now claiming he has uncovered evidence showing that the allotment holders may have been deliberately misled by the Council so as force them to accept a ‘compromise’ agreement to vacate the site.

In 2002 the Council tried to compulsory purchase the privately owned allotments – the land has been used as allotments since 1916. The public enquiry into the compulsory purchase order found in favour of the private owners. The Council then had legal advice from a London solicitor. This legal advice has never been made public, however it was used to squashed the findings of the public enquiry.

The Allotment Association then asked if there would be second compulsory purchase attempt. Council Officers informed them that the legal advice said that a second attempt would be unsuccessful. This forced the Allotment Association to accept an agreement to gradually vacate the site over 15 years.

Using his ‘right to know’ privilege, Councillor Mullaney has been allowed to see the legal advice from the London solicitor. However, the Council has made it clear that Councillor Mullaney is not allowed to discuss or disclose the contents of this advice to anyone – he would be reported to the Standards Board and possibly disqualified as a Councillor.

Using the Freedom of Information Act, Councillor Mullaney has discovered an e-mail from the then local Councillor Bryan Nott, who had managed to see the legal advice. The e-mail gives Councillor Nott interpretation of the legal advice. Councillor Nott, a solicitor himself, indicates that the legal advice does NOT say a 2nd compulsory purchase would not be successful. At one point he says the following:

“I accept that the advice does not give a cast iron guarantee of success. No barrister in their right mind would do so. I realize that the position indicated is that ‘it is notoriously difficult’ to predict the outcome of a further enquiry. However the critical part of the advice is ‘I would conclude that there is at least a reasonable prospect that a fresh inquiry might result in a different outcome’. “

Councillor Mullaney is unable to indicate whether the above statement is an accurate reflection of the legal advice.

Councillor Mullaney would like the following done:
a) the legal advice on the Billesley Lane allotments made public, so as to stop this nonsense of having to use another persons comments to interpret the advice.
b) If the advice shows that a 2nd compulsory purchase order may have succeeded then an apology should be given to all the allotment holders who are vacating their allotments this week.
c) Files relating to the Councils interpretation of this legal advice to the then Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture to be made public.

2 Comments:

At 2:38 PM, Blogger Eye on Moseley said...

Martin,

You appear to be writing about yourself in the third person. Stop it, it's odd.

 
At 8:38 AM, Blogger martin mullaney said...

okay, good point.

 

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