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New Hope for the Radley Lakes – Top Barrister declares report Legally Unsound

One of the nation’s top QC’s has reviewed the Inspector’s report following the Public Inquiry on the Radley Lakes and has advised that it is unsound.

Following the Public Inquiry held in Radley earlier this year, Town Green Inspector, Mr Vivian Chapman QC, delivered his report to Oxfordshire County Council in October, recommending that the Radley Lakes should not be designated as a Town Green, but this report has now been questioned. Save Radley Lakes has received independent advice on the Inspector’s report from a leading barrister in this field. Save Radley Lakes has been advised that the report is legally unsound, and requires further consideration by the Inspector.

This has been put to Oxfordshire County Council, whose Planning and Regulation Committee was due to consider the Inspector’s findings at its meeting scheduled for Monday 26 th November 2007. The advice is that Oxfordshire County Council should defer making a decision at the meeting to allow the Inspector’s report to be reconsidered.

Oxfordshire County Council has now taken the item off the agenda for the 26th November and consideration of the matter will not now take place before the meeting scheduled for January 14th 2008

[update 07/01/2008]

The Inspector has considered the legal representation by Save Radley Lakes and has issued a further report in which he stands by his original findings and recommendation. The matter will be considered at the meeting of Oxfordshire County Council’s Planning and Regulation Committee on Monday 14th January. The recommendation by the Council’s legal department remains that the County Council should reject the application.

The meeting will be held at County Hall at 2.00pm. The Radley Lakes Town Green is the first item on the agenda.

[update 12/01/2008]

The applicant, Mrs Cartmell, is challenging the Inspector’s conclusions and recommendations, as a matter of law, and urges Councillors not to reject the application.

In a statement issued yesterday, Save Radley Lakes puts the case as follows:

“Council officers, in line with the recommendation of the Town Green Inspector, Vivian Chapman QC, are advising that the Committee reject this application. However, the Inspector’s Report makes it clear that the land has been used for lawful sports and past times for the relevant 20 year period. The issues of controversy that the Inspector has raised apply equally to the Oxford Trap Grounds, which was awarded Town Green status. Indeed the case for the Radley Lakes being a Town Green is, if anything, even stronger. Councillors can, and should, take a view that is different from the Inspector, and such a view would be reasonable in law.

If Councillors being asked to make this decision haven’t walked over the land themselves, then we are saying that they should defer a decision until they have done so. They should also visit the Trap Grounds and make the appropriate comparisons.

They should also defer a decision if, despite our representations, any of them are uncertain of their ability to differ from the recommendations of the Inspector. They may also wish to take the opportunity to seek a second legal opinion on the disputed point(s) of law.

We are bound to want to seek permission to bring an application for judicial review, if Oxfordshire do decide to reject the application. Save Radley Lakes is of the opinion that the lakes are properly registrable and will be challenging any decision by the Committee accordingly.

Supporters of the Lakes are urged to make every effort to attend this meeting and to take the opportunity to make their views known to Councillors beforehand.”


Other links relevant to this posting

Oxford Mail, 13 Jan 2008

Oxford Mail, 1 Dec 2007

Oxford Mail, 30 Nov 2007

Application to Register Radley Lakes as a Town Green

First Report by Vivian Chapman QC

Second Report by Vivian Chapman QC

Permanent link to this article: http://www.radleyvillage.org.uk/new-hope-for-the-radley-lakes-top-barrister-declares-report-legally-unsound/