Lewes Forum thread

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LDC in ongoing 2year cock up

 
 
On 6 Apr 2010 at 11:16am Party Wall Act wrote:
In case anyone missed it below,: LDC's latest expensive planning/legal cock up is becoming apparent. LDC have spent over two years trying to force residents next to the East St car park to accept a planning application that would involve them giving up parts of their gardens to LDC for concrete wall foundations. LDC did not know that the Party wall Act protects neighbours from this kind of invasive plan.
LDC have not only wasted 2 years of officer time pursuing these plans incorrectly, and harassing neighbours, but they are also now facing legal action as they have failed to pay Party Wall Act fees to the surveyor they appointed on behalf of neighbouring residents. LDC have failed to appoint their own surveyor, one of their many breaches of the Act.
The most recent attempt to subvert democracy, by LDC will shock anyone. LDC have now come up with another poorly thought through design for the wall, that does not, and cannot involve neighbours gardens. (one design was thrown together on the afternoon of a pre-planned meeting) It should be the subject of consultation, and the planning process. Instead residents affected were all sent a letter saying that if they did not sign and return a 'legal document' making a commitment that they would support the proposal in principle and at the planning stages, then LDC would not submit its application. (LDC own the wall, and let it fall into disrepair in the first place)
So LDC are seeking to blackmail residents into agreeing to a planning application, before it has even been submitted. And if they don't sign some home made 'legal documents' LDC will not submit the application, leaving residents with an insecure row of temporary hoarding for who knows how long.. If residents had signed, LDC would have happily processed the application, in the knowledge that they had illegally manipulated the neighbour consultation, and placed a gagging order on any legitimate concerns about aspects of the scheme. It seems that this is what Lib Dem controlled LDC considers is legal and democratic process. One Lib Dem Councillor has been dealing with this mess ever since residents were hand delivered a surprise demolition notice the week before xmas and half the wall was demolished. But it seems that the officers have been trying to manipulate our Councillor, as much as the residents. either that or he supports what is going on.
And so it continues.......
 
 
On 6 Apr 2010 at 11:19am Bored wrote:
Fascinating I'm sure.....
 
 
On 6 Apr 2010 at 11:29am LTR wrote:
actually it is. Bored must be working in LDC photocopy department. Why haven't LDC appointed a surveyor? I had a Party Wall notice, and it is a legal requirement. We have all seen the disasters they have on 'Property ladder" over this.
 
 
On 6 Apr 2010 at 12:09pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Has this matter been referred to the Ombudsman?
 
 
On 6 Apr 2010 at 12:26pm Sherlock wrote:
Definitely something for the Local Govt Ombudsman. But I think he insists you exhaust the local authority's complaints procedure first.
 
 
On 6 Apr 2010 at 2:48pm Thisbe (for it is she) wrote:
Piramus and I were once a Party Wall Act. But we don't get up to much nowadays.
 
 
On 6 Apr 2010 at 7:10pm Parking Meter wrote:
Just a couple of questions
1So when the wall comes down who would be libel for rebuilding it??

2 Who then would be libel if the wall caused any damage should it fall over on someone or something? Knowing it's in dis repair
Seems that the Garden owners get a good deal giving up some of the sub level garden for the rebuilding of the dividing wall
I wish my neighbour would have paid half for my fence to be rebuilt when it blew down
Finally I'm not condoning the LDC tactics it's just my reflection on the matter
 
 
On 6 Apr 2010 at 7:14pm Bobby wrote:
Must be great to be so well off that you can afford to turn down the free repair of a dangerous wall? Strange person that Party Wall Act.
I'm sure theres a reason they dont want a brick wall, but cant think what it is. perhaps we could use there gardens for bbqs' when the wall falls down. Urban community gardnes, what a great idea!
 
 
On 6 Apr 2010 at 10:22pm Brixtonbelle wrote:
Isn't this the grade 11 listed ancient wall ? So it's not just a matter of replacing one brick wall with another, it's a historical relic and worthy of retaining. Are English Heritage involved - if not suggest residents try to get them involved and even get the wall protected by english heritage....they are pretty stringent.
 
 
On 7 Apr 2010 at 8:40am Bobby wrote:
It's only a wall, thats already falling down. I'm sure EH wont give a s h-t!
 
 
On 7 Apr 2010 at 8:40am Bobby wrote:
It's only a wall, thats already falling down. I'm sure EH wont give a s h-t!
 
 
On 7 Apr 2010 at 10:08am Down and Out wrote:
Jesus wept.

It's a sodding brick wall. Onto a car park. It is an old brick wall but it is not unique, of itself worthy of historical interest nor does it contribute to the street scene or character of Lewes generally. The reason the original wall was falling down and could have killed someone (and God, wouldn't the LDC moaners have come out in force then) is because it was originally built without foundations and is being undermined by the adjacent tree roots. So either you accept massive foundations in a reconstructed wall or you cut the trees down. Personally I think it would have been better to put a fence back and stop wasting time and money on this.

What infuriates me is that the moaners come out in force to witter about the bloody car park wall which no-one sees when perhaps the answer to making Lewes a more attractive and historically robust place for future generations would be to close the car park and cut down on the number of cars allowed to enter the town centre. How ironic that people bleat about the historical significance of a wall which is usually concealed by a row of very unhistorical Toyotas. Can't you people see the bigger picture at all?

And, all the while, that moron who owns the (quite pretty and historically valuable) house on the corner of West Street and Market Street and who is allowing the building to rot and collapse gets away with it because he's not the council.
 
 
On 7 Apr 2010 at 11:23am Sylvia wrote:
I agree with D&O about the wall, how much taypayers money is being wasted by the council of perfectionist obsessives who keep arguing with the council and moaning about it and blocking its repair? Who owns the wall? Most walls in Lewes noone knows who has ownership and a 50/50 split for repairs is necessary, so if the whingers are, by default, part owners put your money where your mouths are.
And yes, why don't we petition the council to serve notice on or compulsorily purchase that derelict building on the corner of West St? Anyone know who it belongs to?
 
 
On 7 Apr 2010 at 11:30am Geoff wrote:
Down and Out. I would agree with you that perspective is needed, which is why you can only wonder why any Council would not realise that neglecting their own property for over 20yrs would eventually come back and financially bite them. What makes you think there are no foundations? Do you have specialist knowledge? The wall, like most walls in Lewes, has been standing there quite happily for over 200 yrs, without even a repair. I understand that this one was partially affected at one end by a tree (now gone)
Of course the bigger picture is not the wall, it is an entire row of listed buildings, of which it is a part. But joking aside, the issue is the way this simple (or should have been) repair is carried out, and how it has been handled. Because everything in Lewes District is being handled by the same people.
I suspect if it was yours, or my own, garden wall, we would not be happy that a Council was trying to illegally use our flower beds as a structural concrete depository (take a look at the planning application) We might also expect the Council to adhere to the law requiring their own Listed Building Application to be sent to the impartial Government Office responsible (It wasn't, and that Office had to contact LDC to explain what they should be doing) Sigh.
I would like to think you are not condoning what looks like a clear attempt at trying to subvert the law. We can only wonder how LDC Officers have got into such a habit! I think anyone with any experience at all of developing, or even simple loft conversions, knows that to ignore the Party Wall Act is a very, very bad idea, and can lead to very protracted delays, as it seems LDC is now learning, at our cost. Legal Services are accounbtable, not the planners, and it is very worrying to me that they are advising (wether they realise, or not) that LDC should break the law.
Cllr Peter Gardiner should be horrified that HIS Council is trying to avoid conforming to the legal requirements of planning legislation,(Party Wall Act) and while I can understand that you might want to have trust in your own legal advice, this one is a no-brainer.
 
 
On 7 Apr 2010 at 11:37am Geoff wrote:
Oh and Sylvia, I just saw your post coming up the same time as mine, those of us in the know, also know that LDC were also responsible for the delay in renovations to that building, but the good news is that work started up again on the excellent restoration back in January, which is why if you peak through the side window when no one is looking you will see a beautifully restored original Norfolk Pannet floor. Its nice to know, isn't it, that at least one of our neighbours tries to reach good standards (if somewhat slowly) rather than the mortar of a certain crappily built new wall in East St CarPark, which I see already had mortar falling out of the pointing!
 
 
On 7 Apr 2010 at 11:48am Brix n Mortar wrote:
As someone working in a design practice, I can tell you lovely people, that doing work on a party wall, without fulfilling the requirements of the Party Wall Act, is very bad, very stupid, and very expensive. Rule one is make friends with your local Party Wall Surveyors (they all know each other) and let them sort out any problems ASAP. Its quite new legislation, (late 90's) so I wouldn't be surprised if the Council didn't know anything about it.
 
 
On 7 Apr 2010 at 11:56am Clifford wrote:
Just a thought, but have LDC been able to get away with things for so long because your natural born Lewesians have never bothered to take an interest in what's going on and the only reason they're being questioned now is because the dreader DFLers are a bit brighter?
 
 
On 7 Apr 2010 at 12:33pm Bobby wrote:
Is the reason why no one who backs onto the east street wall has complained about 1 North Street because one of thier number is related to the owner?
Having just checked the LDC website, it would appear that there is no application on 1 North Street and therefore Geoff, isn't any works to the listed building illegal? Feel free to correct me if i'm wrong?
 
 
On 7 Apr 2010 at 3:31pm Down and Out wrote:
Geoff - what I do know is this: walls of that era (and houses, come to that) do not have 'proper' foundations - just three or four courses of corbelled brick if you're lucky. Current codes require mammoth concrete foundations for walls close to trees to cope with ground movement and changing water tables. I'm not disputing that it sounds like LDC have made a bit of a balls of the paperwork. What I am saying is that a) if you want the wall back, you're going to have to cope with a shed load of concrete one way or another, and b) talking about 'subverting democracy' in this context is completely OTT. Maybe a wee bit of perspective is needed.
On 1 North Street, why the hell has the clown who owns it restored the floor when the building envelope is not watertight? That's absurd.
Bobby - if it's a straight restoration to the original condition then there are no changes and Listed Building Consent would not be required.
 
 
On 7 Apr 2010 at 10:08pm Bobby wrote:
I beleive that the serious neglect of a listed building is a criminal offence however? And boy is it neglected, far worse than a poxy wall.
 
 
On 9 Apr 2010 at 6:23pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
While the matter of the wall itself may nto be a huge deal, the whole sorry saga exemplifies what a useless bunch of twunts certain sections of the council, notably the planners, are and the sheer arrogance and disdain with which they regard both the fabric and the people of the town, the laws they are supposedly charged with enforcing and the democratic process .
 
 
On 9 Apr 2010 at 8:42pm Dave wrote:
Went past 1 North St today, it's an outrage. Windows boarded up long ago,glass out and not replaced on the main front window, weather must be getting in. To say it looks derelict is an understatement, it used to be a habitable house not all that long ago. Who is the owner who's reduced it to this condition ? They need naming and shaming, and why don't the planning critics on here take it up as a cause? It needs sorting asap.
 
 
On 11 Apr 2010 at 2:19pm Giles wrote:
It's a criminal offence to let a listed building be neglected as 1 North Street has. The owner whoever he is should be prosecuted. As Geoff obviously doesn't care about it is it his building?


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