Save Westridge Farm Campaign protest poster on house 2021

West Acre Park Up-Date

Pre-Action Protocol Letter dated 29th August 2023

OntheWight article re residents’ legal team issuing letter of intent to IW Council to seek Judicial Review

Crowdfunding – Save Westridge Farm Campaign (crowdjustice.com)

Community Action website – Save Westridge Farm

Community Facebook – Save Westridge Farm

As the elected representative of Ryde Appley and Elmfield I have stood by my residents in their fight for justice. It would not be right to comment on the case now it is stepping into legal process but I can reconfirm my steadfast commitment to this action. The letter sets out the legal case for the challenge that there were aspects of the planning process in regard to the West Acre Park planning application to build 472 houses on farmland that were unlawful. I believe this should be presented to a Judge through judicial review to decide. My personal reflection on the journey (not the case) to this stage is below.”

The pre-court-action letter was sent on 29th August 2023 (click on link above) to IW Council and Developers. This letter outlines the case. Residents have now have 15 days to hit the target of £39,300 that will enable barristers on their behalf to go to the High Court in London seeking Judicial Review.

At present, £28,062 has been achieved with 644 pledgers and enabled the full case to be assembled and for action to commence for the pre-action letter to be sent. The company Greenfield (IOW) Ltd, established to represent residents and legally contract with solicitors, will also send a letter of objection to IW Council shortly as well.

The shortfall is now standing at £11240! The committed residents’ team behind the scenes is working hard to get to the target and have 17 days to reach it. There have been 644 pledges so far. They need your help to get to the High Court! with this last major push. Remember the tortoise won the race.

You can support by donating further, encouraging others to donate, share the face book page and crowdfunding site, and putting comments of support on sites/press release sites.

Save Westridge Farm | Facebook

IW Council, in my view, purposely issued consent on the 4th August (Summer Holidays) to make it hard for residents to meet the deadline of 6 weeks to get to Judicial Review (by 14th September 2023!) which is the last opportunity for residents of Ryde Appley and Elmfield to get justice within this case. My role as ward Councillor is to support residents as best I can to get this injustice over the line to Court.

You can donate in amounts of £10, £20, £35, £50, £100, £200, or other amounts.

562 further pledges of £20 = Target of £11240!

322 further pledges of £35 = Target

225 further pledges of £50 = Target

112 further pledges of £100 = Target

56 further pledges of £200 = Target

23 further pledges of £500 = Target

12 further pledges of £1000 = Target

If you have any ideas to help the residents’ team to get over this last bit of the marathon. They are at the 22 mile pain threshold part of the race and need support to get this over the line. It needs so very generous donors.

My Personal Reflection on the journey to seeking justice!

“I am in shock at reading the residents’ lawyers letter as it has brought back trauma of this battle.

My sadness is the cruelness of the whole process.

The developers put in the application for the 472 houses during Covid19 pandemic and at a time we were in lockdown. The tenant farmers were coping with survival post Brexit as dairy farmers, had Covid19, and trying to survive generally when they were hit with the news of the application. They had re-organised after loosing land for 88 houses and re-invested in a new modern milking parlour. They and I had been told there was no intention to develop further housing on the land.

The July 2021 planning meeting was traumatic for them and they were devastated by the decision for approval which as stated in the letter was unlawful from the residents’ lawyers’ perspective which is my personal view.

Although, they fought in the end they had no option but to accept a buy-out by developers. They have now rebuilt their lives but they in their hearts wanted to carry on the farm and hand it over to their children.  It is tragic. The farm land is a special environmental space cared for by generations of caring farmers who nurtured the wildlife. It is part of the historic Elmfield village and the community cared for it and wanted it to be saved and as their elected representative I have tried hard to support them at every turn and it has been traumatic at times.

Every announcement and action that has been taken by the developer and council has been timed so residents and I as a local councillor are at our weakest to react whether during Covid19, lockdown, at Christmas or holiday times such as consent issued on 4th August 2023 during summer holidays which has given residents 6 weeks to seek Judicial Review.

What is outlined in the letter attached should never have happened and the tenant farmers and residents of Elmfield/Ryde should not have been treated this way, not listened to, objections ignored, had this action against them through the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis, and now have to raise money to have their human rights and voices heard. It is disgraceful. Over 644 pledges of funding from money raised in coffee mornings, to children making collections, all ages contributing from £10 to £500. This is People Power and I know my residents will not stop until they get it to court. This is a story that needs to be told.

Sorry I am quite emotional about it at present after reading the letter after all this time. It has to go to court and it needs a judgement to hear this story and case. The financial might of a local authority, landowner and developer should not over-ride the voices of people but unfortunately it is often the case and it is a part of society (where wealth talks) I find personally abhorrent.

Sorry to sound off, but just upset. This is a human tragedy and injustice in my view. At age of 66 in the 21st Century I thought we would have achieved a strong enough democracy that was not wealth led. I am saddened that money of governments, wealthy landowners and developers gets heard within our justice and planning system more than the people. This case needs to get to court to prove the people should have a voice and there needs to be transparency and openness not decisions in backrooms.”

The above is my personal thoughts and does not reflect on on any aspect of the actual case.

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