I can’t help thinking that the developers of the West Hill Road site have pulled the wool over the council’s eyes.
It was dismaying to hear that the council accepted the developers’ contention that the development had commenced within the three year period after 1988 when the original permission was granted, and that it remains of the same view now, despite the fact that nothing has happened on site in the 25 years since then.
I don’t know what evidence the developer was able to adduce in 2005 to satisfy the council that it should issue the Certificate of Lawfulness, and perhaps the council will enlighten us now. Had the old buildings been demolished by 1991 and if so, does that constitute a commencement? Does perhaps the digging of a hole in the ground?
Without knowing the reasons, the suspicion remains that the council shied away from a challenge, afraid of incurring costs perhaps, and even now it does not seem to be investigating whether the Certificate can be rescinded but appears to be accepting the situation as a fait accompli. That’s a shame, because looking at the plans online what is about to go up is (in my opinion at least) a bit of a monstrosity.
Over the past few weeks the site has been cleared and perimeter security fencing put up. We have seen men and machinery. It is pretty obvious that the development is only just beginning now.
If the developers were to assert, “Actually, we started this within three years of 1988”, you would think they were having a laugh wouldn’t you? And at whose expense?
St Vincents Road
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