There has been some misunderstanding and confusion about Queen Elizabeth Gardens and the footpath diversion, yes there has been some mistakes but we wanted to update you on some facts so I have looked into this and I have set out some information which I hope will help.
In 2012 planning permission was sought for the extension to the village hall and the new scouts and guides building, the diversion of the footpath was included in this. Planning permission was granted and work was started on the hall. Original planning was granted June 2012 and was amended in December 2012 because of the mound and this included a new route for the path.
A footpath diversion order was placed under the Town and Country Planning Act to divert a public footpath, which included closing the current footpath and building of a new one through QE gardens and the subsequent landscaping, this is what the objection was made against. Once the 2012 Planning was in place the Balfour Beatty as part of their contract was suppose to prepare the paperwork for this and give to Geoff Ward. This did not happen and as we know Geoff Ward left the council. It was not until late 2013 during a project review meeting that this was identified. The application was submitted in January 2014 and the official date for the inspector’s consideration of the order was October 2014. Yes the footpath diversion order could have been put in earlier and this would have saved us 6-8 months.
Under this Act if you complete part of the works, i.e. build the new path and complete the landscaping the footpath diversion order cannot proceed. It will automatically be thrown out, which is why the area is still fenced off. This has been questioned and confirmed by the solicitors and is a querk of the act.
The planning inspector commented that the plan numbers were wrong on the 2012 planning permission and she was correct, but this was a typing mistake and not because she had the wrong papers.
In 2014 WBC obtained an additional planning permission for the disabled access for the bowling/tennis club and the additional tennis court, which also made ref to the new footpath because it would go around the new tennis court and the disabled access could only be done if the footpath diversion was permitted.
The planning inspectorate also suggested that the footpath diversion order should have been attached to the 2014 planning permission, but this was never the case the diversion order was always attached to the 2012 permission because of the proximity to the buildings and safety.
Going forward we have explained the typing error and explained that they are incorrect in relation to which planning permission the order should be attached to, although she has been offered a copy of the later planning application which she refused. They can either agree with us and review the footpath order using the 2012 plans or refuse the order. If they refuse on the basis that the diversion should be attached to the 2014 planning permission, we have two main options either keep the path open or reapply using the 2014 planning consent which leaves it open to further objections and longer time.
Last but not least the mound, the pile of top soil that is still on site is required for the shaping and compleation of the site. If we had removed it we would have needed to repurchase.