You have a background in planning law + dispute resolution. You are appointed to mediate a planning dispute by the Chief Executive of a Local Authority. It is a prestigious appointment +, bearing in mind your family outgoings (you and your wife have four children aged 6-17), it is a welcome contribution to the family income.
The story so far. In the suburbs of a medium-sized Northern town, a family has owned a farm + 200 acres of land down the generations. The grandparents, who lived all their married life on the farm, have passed away and their son + daughter, both professionals with families living in the nearby town, want to sell the property which has considerable value. Over a period of time, they reach a stage where a Developer wants to buy; the children want to sell and all is on hold pending the outcome of a planning application.
The application is to build up-market three/four-bedroom houses with gardens, space + quality access. The development will increase the value of the surrounding properties. There are issues; the property is situated in Green Belt; it is accessed down a sleepy countryside road with street parking that would obstruct lorries carrying building materials; site construction would take between 18 + 24 months. There is also the issue of affordable housing.
The Council Planning Committee has objections – some of which have been met by the commitment of the developers to fund the cost of construction of three town centre roundabouts which has been a priority for city traffic. The development will enhance the status of the City on a growth curve in terms of prosperity + social amenities.
Residents in the access road are divided. Some approve + some object to the inclusion of affordable housing. Prominent among the objectors are two people skilled at working their way through the process of planning. One is opposed to the development in principle preferring not to upset the rhythms of country life. The other bears a grudge which is a throwback to a previously refused planning application on a separate property in the same town.
#209. EPISODE TWO – 9 MARCH 2022
THE MEDIATOR PRODS