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Radley Parish Council Decides to End Radley Lakes Judicial Review

At its annual meeting on 28 May, Radley Parish Council decided to instruct its solicitor to conclude the Judicial Review of the decision by Oxfordshire County Council not to grant Town Green status to land around Thrupp and Bullfield Lakes in Radley, on the best terms achievable; In the meantime, the Parish Council will continue to seek clarification from RWE npower on the long term arrangements for npower’s land at Thrupp Lake.


In October 2006, an application was made, by Mrs Jo Cartmell, an Abingdon resident and a leading member of Save Radley Lakes, to register Thrupp and Bullfield Lakes, and land immediately surrounding them, as a Town Green under the Commons Registration Act, 1965, on the basis that local people had used the land, “as of right”, for lawful recreational activities over the preceding 20 years. Registration of the area as a Town Green would have prevented any development of the land ‘in perpetuity’, and, in particular, would have prevented RWE npower from dumping waste ash from Didcot Power Station into the lake, as they were planning to do at the time. A Public Inquiry was held in Radley in April – June 2007. However despite the findings of the inspector that people had indeed used the land around the lakes for lawful pastimes over the requisite period, he did not recommend that it should be a Town Green. On the basis of this recommendation, in January 2008, Oxfordshire County Council decided not to grant Town Green status to any of this land.


In April 2008, after taking legal advice from a top barrister, Radley Parish Council challenged this decision by launching a Judicial Review. This was due to have been heard in the High Court in February 2009.


However, following the announcement by RWE npower in December 2008 that they no longer needed Thrupp Lake for ash disposal, and would be gifting it to the community as a wildlife site, the interested parties agreed to stay the proceedings until the end of May 2009, while more specific commitments were sought about the future of the land.


Earlier this week, it was announced that the Northmoor Trust had been appointed to manage Thrupp Lake . Radley Parish Council is now fully satisfied that RWE npower’s public assurances constitute the necessary commitment and that npower are actively proceeding to deliver the promises made in December 2008. Although no parties have entered into any sort of legally-binding agreement, Radley Parish Council, as an act of goodwill, has decided to end the Judicial Review, so that further plans and negotiations will be unfettered by it.


Radley Parish Council would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Northmoor Trust on their appointment, and is delighted at the prospect of this beautiful area being preserved and maintained properly for the community and wildlife.


[Update 03/11/2009]

Following an application, supported by all parties, to withdraw the claim, the High Court of England and Wales, in its Consent Order dated 4 August 2009, ordered that the claim be withdrawn, thus bringing the legal process to a final conclusion. All parties agreed to pay their own costs, and no costs order was made by The Court.

The Town Green application process begun by Mrs Cartmell in October 2006 is thus finally ended.

Other links relevant to this posting                             

Herald, 29 May 2009

Oxford Mail, 29 May 2009

Permanent link to this article: http://www.radleyvillage.org.uk/radley-parish-council-decides-to-end-radley-lakes-judicial-review/