If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

Rother Valley Railway

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by nine elms fan, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    6,081
    Likes Received:
    2,217
    Honest but is it helpful on a public forum?
     
  2. So, to come back to my question, any Tom, Dick or Harry can legally apply for planning permission to build on land that they don't own? I have to say I'm really surprised at that.

    Let's put to one side that it's a railway - and therefore the majority on here will inevitably be in favour - it just seems wrong to me that this is possible. I return to my analogy of a garden - some sharp developer likes the look of it, asks to buy it, you say 'no' and yet he can still apply for planning permission to build on it in an effort to force you to sell? How would that make you feel?

    martin butler describes the farmer as 'bloody minded' from a very (somewhat tunnel-visioned, IMHO) pro-RVR view. But if the above analogy unfolded regarding your garden, Martin, how would you feel if it wasn't a steam railway? Say it was a nuclear power station. You'd be 'bloody minded' too! Spare a thought for the wider view, eh? ;)

    The feelings of the farmer's 'family' are, frankly, irrelevant. If the land is his property, he should be allowed to do what, or not, he sees fit with it (within reason), without interference or being forced into a corner. In exactly the same way as we all should be allowed to get on with our lives without unwelcome intrusion.

    This situation reminds me, rather sadly, very much of a spoiled child who is repeatedly told 'no' but only hears 'maybe'.

    (And I agree wholeheartedly with Reading General about the right way to people's hearts and minds!)
     
    Reading General likes this.
  3. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    26,178
    Likes Received:
    57,795
    Location:
    LBSC 215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    My understanding is that that is entirely permissible.

    The planning permission (if granted) is attached to the land, regardless of who applied or who who owns the land. So, imagine you saw a neighbour's field and you thought you could make some money building houses. You could buy the land and then apply for planning permission - but you might have permission refused, in which case you have spent money on some useless (to you) land.

    Alternatively, you could apply for planning permission (which is granted) and then negotiate to buy the land from your neighbour: however, the existence of the planning permission has instantly increased the value of the land, meaning you would have to pay more than if you have speculatively bought first. And in any case, without a CPO, your neighbour still doesn't have to sell to you.

    In the end, it is just the balance of risks - buy first and risk that permission might still be refused, or apply first and risk the price going up and / or the landowner refusing to sell despite the expense you have already incurred.

    Tom
     
    DisusedBranch likes this.
  4. Thank you for an excellently-phrased (and rationally unemotional! :)) explanation, Tom.

    I see the logic of it, but it still seems a bit off to me!

    So, the next question... if a landowner is still unwilling to sell, what would be the legal process of gaining a CPO? I'm guessing the protagonist would have to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the development would be of significant local or national benefit and have no major down sides? Plus, I'm guessing, be able to prove that they can pay for it?

    Any other stipulations?
     
  5. ilvaporista

    ilvaporista Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    4,249
    Likes Received:
    5,305
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    C.Eng
    Location:
    On the 45th!
    Planning laws are complex an it's very unlikely that someone will take a shine to your property and get permission to build without your consent. However there are a few situations in which compulsory purchase orders are normal practice. Just think of the houses and land that has been used for motorways and bypasses, those people did not actually want that through their property but once the bill has been passed realistically there is not much you can do. There are also powers for the construction of rail links (just think HS2). Obviously it would be better to reach a negotiated settlement but given the usual timescales of railway extensions and the legal process there is still time to discuss.
    Just remember that not everyone is as nostalgic as you are and they have their own reasons for their choices.
     
  6. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    6,081
    Likes Received:
    2,217
    I can't really imagine that a CPO would be issued for a steam railway...is there any precedent for this? I can't believe it would be seen as a reasonable use of the powers the Law can call on
     
  7. threelinkdave

    threelinkdave Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2013
    Messages:
    2,065
    Likes Received:
    1,240
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Stratford-upon-Avon or in a brake KD to BH
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Here in Stratford we have an intriguing on going case. A builder applied for and was initially refused for a huge development near Anne Hathaways cottage. Granted on appeal the permission covers a parcel of land owned by the trustees of AHC. This parcel appears crucial to the development. AHC dont want to sell but have a problem, it is a charity. Does AHC have to sell as a chartity to maximise income or retain the property to protect the ambience of the cottage.

    Tom didnt mention the narows on the Bluebell. Each parcel of trackbed was offered from the centre line of the EG extension. At one point only one owner would sell. It did however prove possible, as the formation was double track, to lay a single line on the side it did own. The owner of this land still gets the trains despite not selling.
     
  8. martin butler

    martin butler Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,440
    Likes Received:
    388
    In most cases the land is purchased from the local authority, take the Welsh Highland, that was i believe passed onto the local authority when the trackbed was abandoned , in most cases where its privatly owned, the railway concerned has been able to purchase the small strip of land they needed , so no need to resort to a CPO, In the case of the RVR, all bar one are prepared to sell, and i am sure that every chance has been taken to reach a solution that meets both parties needs, the track bed in question has not been built on, or even changed much since it was closed from the road, the sections that you can see are just as they were but covered with loose shrub but as its been pointed out its the farmers land, and he can do what ever he wants with it, of course for all i know, and it has been thought this,that he could just be holding out to get the maximum value he can for his land. there is a very good chance that the planning permision will get approoved, after all the local community want to see it, bodiam castle would prefer to see coach parties use the train rather than block up local roads, and i dont think the RVR would have spent what they have on the Robertsbridge site if they didnt think they had at least a 85% chance of suceeding
     
  9. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    6,081
    Likes Received:
    2,217
    I still don't think a CPO would be granted for such a reason though. It's not of National Importance or anything like it
     
  10. Neil_Scott

    Neil_Scott Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2008
    Messages:
    3,155
    Likes Received:
    302
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Railway servant
    Location:
    Worcester
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The WHR case is quite complicated and Peter Johnson might comment on it in more detail than me, but the trackbed was in the hands of the Official Receiver rather than the local authority (Caernarfonshire County Council or Gwynedd Council).
     
  11. Fireline

    Fireline Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,187
    Likes Received:
    1,109
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Firstly, I'd like to take the chance to congratulate Martin on his new role as the RVR's community relations officer......

    Secondly, the RVR is an unusual case legally for one reason. Although BR lifted the track, and cut us off, they never applied for the Abandonment Order necessary to finish off the railway. Therefore, there is TECHNICALLY still a railway through from Bodiam to Robertsbridge. The fact that the land belongs to others, and has no rail on it at all, doesn't really seem to matter in the eyes of the law. That said, the RVR would much rather come to agreements with the owners. No-one wants problems with their neighbours before they even move in....
     
    Wenlock likes this.
  12. As has already been stated, a preserved/steam/tourist/hobby railway is an entirely different kettle of fish to 'national interest' projects like motorways, bypasses, HS1/HS2... and, indeed, nuclear power stations!

    You can't really compare the two.

    I'm not sure if you mean 'you' as in me - i.e. DisusedBranch - or the metaphorical 'you', there. If it's the former and you read my earlier posts you will understand that I am far from nostalgic and, indeed, in this case have considerable sympathy for the farmer in question!

    While I now understand the logic and reasoning of the RVR applying for planning permission at this stage (thanks again, Tom), personally if I was the farmer, I'd be 'bloody minded' about it too!

    I can totally understand the appeal of railway preservation, however I'm not blinkered. I also really appreciate the wonderful ambience of letting disused railways be slowly reclaimed by nature, hence my user name. Both have a place.

    Not sure he'll get the subtlety of that :D

    Interesting point...

    So if the farmer is implacably opposed to selling, does the RVR actually listen to him? Or does it go "LalalalaIcanthearyou"? o_O
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2014
    Reading General likes this.
  13. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    6,081
    Likes Received:
    2,217
    I have an abandoned line at the rear of my house and I'd love to see it in use, but I bet a good few of my neighbours wold oppose it , as is there right. Railway enthusiasts need to be careful not to be heavy-handed in these matters, otherwise landowners will be bloody minded and so would I be!
     
    DisusedBranch likes this.
  14. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    2,224
    Likes Received:
    1,482
    Another scenario when you might apply to build on someone else's land is if you had some objection to their proposal and wanted to influence the outcome. For example suppose landowner A applies to build 500 luxury apartments but neighbour B thinks that's a bit unpaletable. Neighbour B could put in a different application for, say, 100 smaller properties and some nice parkland. They then get the local press etc. on-side and lobby the council to approve scheme B. Landowner A might well think "sod it, at least I can build something (or sell the land) and make some money" and hey presto, everyone's happy (ish).

    I'm not sure if this has ever actually happened but I have heard the concept discussed regarding an actual site.

    Also, I believe that once building work starts the planning permission doesn't lapse. So maybe the RVR's idea is to apply for everything (thus saving the expense of separate applications), start on a bit they can actually work on, and continue to negotiate with the other landowner.

    I have no connection with the RVR/KESR by the way, so this is all just idle guesswork.
     
    Wenlock likes this.
  15. ilvaporista

    ilvaporista Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    4,249
    Likes Received:
    5,305
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    C.Eng
    Location:
    On the 45th!
    Mine was a rhetorical 'you' as in you and me and all enthusiasts. I'd personally love to see this happen but not everyone will share my personal view and I would not be so presumptious as to think that everyone shares my view.
     
  16. louis.pole

    louis.pole New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2013
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    To use a wartime phrase "Somewhere in England"
    I'm not altogether sure there is any differentiation by what form of traction is used. I.e. In simple terms the RVR would be seeking powers to (re)construct a railway from point A to point B. Many railways operate using a mixture of traction. I'm happy to be corrected but think the only requirement is to intend to run publicly accessible trains to a yet to be published timetable.
     
  17. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    6,081
    Likes Received:
    2,217
    Maybe so, but would it be granted? It would set a precedent that would be unacceptable to many people
     
  18. Steve B

    Steve B Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2008
    Messages:
    2,069
    Likes Received:
    1,503
    Location:
    Shropshire
    I can't find the details, and I'm happy to be corrected if I've remembered it wrong, but I believe that the Welsh Highland's Transport and Works Order allowed for compulsory purchase orders (not all the new line runs on the original trackbed). Whether those powers were used I don't know.

    Steve B
     
  19. Steve B

    Steve B Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2008
    Messages:
    2,069
    Likes Received:
    1,503
    Location:
    Shropshire
    In addition to what I just posted, I think the Caernarfon to Dinas section did have County Council involvement. This wasn't part of the original WHR - it was previously standard gauge and the CC bought much of the old BR property to make cycle paths.

    Steve B
     
  20. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Messages:
    5,285
    Likes Received:
    3,083
    Oversimplifying somewhat, if the planning authority consider that there are, for example, economic or social benefits to the wider community then there is likely to be a presumption in favour. There will be the usual caveats regarding the environment, sustainability etc.
     

Share This Page