Save Westridge Farm Campaign

by Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Save Westridge Farm Campaign

by Greenfields (IOW) Limited
Greenfields (IOW) Limited
Case Owner
We are a group of residents who live in the historic settlement of Elmfield in Ryde, Isle of Wight who have been campaigning for many years to save the last working farm in our town.
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£56,500
pledged of £56,500 stretch target from 945 pledges
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Greenfields (IOW) Limited
Case Owner
We are a group of residents who live in the historic settlement of Elmfield in Ryde, Isle of Wight who have been campaigning for many years to save the last working farm in our town.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: Feb. 22, 2024

Shocking Matters Brought to Attention of Court by Our Legal Team

Shocking Matters highlighted by our legal team in their letter sent to London High Court 20th Feb 2024.

The letter provides evidence of alleged lying by Isle of Wight Council Planning staff that a Ryd…

Read more

Who are we?

We are a group of residents who live in the historic settlement of Elmfield in Ryde, Isle of Wight who have been campaigning for many years to save the last working farm in our town on the beautiful Isle of Wight. On the 27th July 2021, IW Council Planning Committee approved a planning application to build 475 houses on 150 plus acres of green fields which have been farmed by tenant farmers for generations. This decision (which was passed controversially amidst allegations of illegality, irrationality and procedural impropriety) results in not only the loss of the livelihood and home of the farming family but the loss of a beautiful landscape for residents and visitors to the Island. 

Community Farm and Access to the Countryside

Ryde is the largest residential area on the Isle of Wight and surprisingly has a deficit of accessible green space. The farm is located near the most of the most deprived areas of food deprivation and disadvantage of the Island which has some of the lowest incomes in the South-East of England. The Ryde Foodbank is based close to the farm. Ryde Town Council has voted with huge support from the community to campaign for the green fields of the farm to be preserved from development as a community asset.

Wider Issue in post-Covid UK and Climate Change

This approval decision has massive implications not just for the Isle of Wight but across the UK as it creates an unsafe precedent in that housing is given priority over the Human Rights of tenant farmers and local residents, climate change, food security and production and the mental and physical well-being of a community. Ryde has recently experienced some of the worst floods in hundreds of years with many impoverished residents losing everything they have. The Island which has one very basic hospital and the Island’s infrastructure (in terms of schools, other medical and public services) is on its knees already.  

Risk to Island Lifestyle, Food Production, Beauty and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

Although the Isle of Wight Council is now going through consultation for a new Island Plan in favour of building on brown field sites, there has been a huge increase in large scale housing applications on green fields such as the one on Westridge Farm and its approval creates a precedent and puts large tracts of farmland, green space and places of natural beauty, wildlife at risk. The Isle of Wight is unique in that it has UNESCO Biosphere reserve status which this planning consent contradicts. 

Why Support this Campaign?

The aim of this crowd funding campaign is to raise sufficient funds to do the following:

  1. Enable ordinary working residents to have access to lawyers to match the lawyers of the developers and landowners.

  2. A full legal case is developed and once consent is issue residents are able to have a legal team in place to apply for and go for Judicial Review.

  3. Have sufficient funds to fully support the tenant farmer fight to defend the land from development and preserve our greenfield space as a community asset in our biosphere reserve.

We love Ryde and Isle of Wight – We love his untouched beautiful coastal countryside

Housing is needed on the Isle of Wight but we cannot afford to destroy working farms and our beautiful landscape and endanger climate change and wildlife habitat. If you love the wonderful natural beauty of the Isle of Wight please support our fight to save Westridge Farm and this wrong decision to approve 475 houses on 1000 year old untouched landscape.

Legal Documents:

Claimants Reply

High-Court-Order_14Feb2024.pdf

Statement-of-Facts-and-Grounds.pdf

Chronology.pdf

Claim-Form.pdf

Attachment A - Legal representations on WAP to IWC 03Aug2021

Attachment B - Legal representations on WAP to IWC 09Dec2021

Attachment C - Legal representations on WAP to IWC 12Jan2022

Attachment D - Legal representations on WAP to IWC 14Jan2022

Attachment E - Legal representations on WAP to IWC 01Mar2022

Attachment F - Legal representations on WAP to IWC 28Mar2022

Briefing paper on Motion at IWCPC 29Mar2022

Relevant Web Links:

https://savewestridgefarm.org.uk

Planning Committee members vote on motion to recall West Acre Park 473-home ... - OnTheWight

Large-Scale Controversial Ryde Development Given The Go-Ahead - Isle of Wight Radio

RYDE'S WEST ACRE PARK DEVELOPMENT FINALLY GIVEN PLANNING PERMISSION

End Of The Road For Westridge Farm? Decision Day For West Acre Park Development

 

Update 32

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Feb. 22, 2024

Shocking Matters Brought to Attention of Court by Our Legal Team

Shocking Matters highlighted by our legal team in their letter sent to London High Court 20th Feb 2024.

The letter provides evidence of alleged lying by Isle of Wight Council Planning staff that a Ryde Transport group existed, when it did not.

It also details alleged intense bullying of any members of the Council’s Planning Committee who might have voted against the West Acre Park development application at its meeting 21st July 2021.

At that Planning Committee Meeting of 21st July 2021 the vote was tied at 3/3 and the Chair of the meeting, Cllr Brodie, used his casting vote to approve after the meeting had legally finished.

There has been no official investigation into the handling of this application although many have asked.

The shocking nature of these issues highlight how important this case is for justice for local people, and ensuring Isle of Wight Council conduct is as it should be.

A multi-generational farming family had to give up their home and livelihood because of a Planning Committee decision based on alleged and evidenced lies and bullying, the proof of which is central to our case.

It is our unshakable belief from day 1 that it is a huge miscarriage of justice.

Monies received back from winning the case will be kept in a specially designated bank account to preserve the objectives of this campaign.

We are not only fighting for current justice, but for future generations and nature.

Please continue to support this campaign and share it with others.

Important - Because of the logistics of monies moving from the crowdfunding to the Court, it is important if you or those you know are intending to contribute further, that this is done today or tomorrow (23rd February) so we can ensure the £10k deposit is with the Court by the date the Court has specified.

Hopefully all can see from the now released letter how important our case is, and we thank you for your personal choice to support us in our endeavours. We will publish more information and documents as and when we are able to.

The letter submitted to the High Court by our legal team referred to above can be viewed and downloaded by clicking the link ‘Claimants Reply’ listed under Legal Documents on this page.

Or by clicking this link: https://savewestridgefarm.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Claimants-Reply.pdf

(Abbreviations used in the letter: ‘C’ = Claimant (i.e. ourselves), ‘D’ = Defendant and ‘SFG’ = Statement of Facts and Grounds)

Thank you

Update 31

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Feb. 21, 2024

Our Legal Team submit more evidence to Court

Our legal team submitted yet more evidence to Court yesterday that implies Isle of Wight Council has allegedly lied and acted unlawfully.

The Judge has already agreed this case needs to be heard in court and this is a milestone.

To get into Court we just need to make this happen by reaching our current target enabling us to pay the £10K deposit to the Court.

All being well the Isle of Wight Council will then know they have no option other than to answer for their actions publicly.

We send a message to all residents across the Isle of Wight who are questioning decisions on planning applications and officers' reports, to please support us by pledging as this case may help your case and grievances.

We are nearly there and we just need further pledges to get over the line, thus enabling us to get this case heard in court.

Please donate, share and contact others to enable us to reach our current target in the short time remaining.

Update 30

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Feb. 20, 2024

Court Order contains 28th Feb 2024 deadline for monies to be lodged with Court

With High Court Order of 14th February 2024 having now ruled the case against Isle of Wight Council should be heard in Court, we now have just 8 more days to reach our current target of £56,500

Lots has happened since Isle of Wight residents first started their fight to save Westridge farmland back in 2016.

Below is a short summary of just a few of the events that have occurred.

• Destruction of greenfield and habitat of endangered species.

• 1000+ signing local petition

• Hundreds of planning objections submitted.

• Destruction of land cared for over centuries, with loss of land that had benefitted both community and natural environment and wildlife.

• Tenant farming family having to leave the land they had cared for over generations.

• Isle of Wight Council alleged to having broken the law and its own rules.

• Attempts by developers to build on the major greenfield area between Ryde, Seaview and Nettlestone.

Legal action is being taken because of alleged wrongdoing by Isle of Wight Council in determining a planning application to build almost 500 properties. (Please see downloadable documents and previous updates on this Crowdfunding page for further information)

1000+ pages of evidence was submitted in September to London High Court.

We now have JUST 8 DAYS LEFT to reach our current crowdfunding target.

King's Counsel ruled last Tuesday 14th Feb 2024 that our case should be heard in court and there is a deadline to pay the court the required Aarhus Cost Order monies of £10k (effectively a form of bond to the court) by 28th Feb, next Weds, for them to hear the case - We now have just 8 days left to make this happen!

We have travelled so far together on this, and we are now so close.

If we don’t reach existing crowdfunding target in next 8 days, it will be the end of this case.

Documents that are able to be put in the public domain at this time can be viewed by clicking the links on this crowdfunding page.

Please spread the word.

We thank all who have made a personal choice to support us.

We must reach our current crowdfunding target by next Wednesday the 28th Feb 2024 to be able to continue with our case.

Thank you

Update 29

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Feb. 15, 2024

High Court has ruled - Residents will have a day in court!

Press release 15/2/2024 by Greenfield’s IOW Ltd:

A Kings Council Judge has ruled that Greenfield IOW Ltd representing local residents of Ryde Appley and Elmfield can have a day in court to hear their case of significant errors by Isle of Wight Council in approving the West Acre Park development.

It is now 4 years since Captiva Homes first put in their planning application to build 472 houses on Westridge Farm during the Covid19 pandemic. In July 2021, the Isle of Wight Planning Committee controversially made a 3 to 3 decision with the Chair of the Committee, Cllr Geoff Brodie, using his casting vote to grant planning permission. The community reacted in horror to how this meeting was conducted and how the 1000s of objections were ignored and rejected. The family who tenant farmed the land for generations were devastated.

Residents of Ryde Appley and Elmfield fought back, developed a case, and engaged lawyers. There were failed attempts to bring the application back to Isle of Wight Planning Committee and the tenant farmers had no option but to leave. In April 2023, it came back to Committee and was approved again.

As soon as it was legally possible in October 2023 residents took the case to court seeking Judicial Review. It is a huge milestone that a Judge has now ruled the case can be heard.

Residents continue to crowdfund their case and to date have raised £45,050 with 814 pledges.

Ryde Appley and Elmfield Councillor, Michael Lilley reacted:

“I am delighted for my residents as they have fought so hard and so long for justice and to get their huge case of alleged malpractice by IW Council Planning Department. The Court has obviously ruled that the case deserves a hearing in court and in fact residents have a case. It has always been a David and Goliath battle and this is a huge achievement. My role as the local ward Councillor has been to stand solidly by my residents in their long road to justice. The recent climate change realities of flooding and sewage releases into the Solent demonstrate environmentally that building 472 houses on farmland half a mile from the coastline would be a disaster. It was a tragedy that the tenant farmer had no option other than to leave following the granting of planning permission, but at least there is a chance to still save this important natural resource and greenfield site.”

Helen Sharpe – Local Resident says:

I and thousands of others have objected to these plans for 8 years. The Council should never have passed this application and they failed in their duty to protect this historic, green field site which included a dairy farm, thousands of trees and a rare breeding ground for curlews.
This whole community is really worried about how Ryde would cope with such a huge building project, when the hospital, surgeries, schools, roads and sewerage system is overrun and cannot cope as it is.”

For more detail and to access crowdfunding:
Save Westridge Farm Campaign (crowdjustice.com)

To access a copy of the Court Ruling:
https://savewestridgefarm.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/High-Court-Order_14Feb2024.pdf

Update 28

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Jan. 5, 2024

Happy 2024 and Continuing the Fight to Save Westridge Farmland Greenfield Site!

The Save Westridge Farm action group and Greenfields (IOW) Limited wish you a very wonderful and successful new year.

There is no news yet from the High Court on the permission to go to trial and Judicial Review. You will be notified the moment we know.

Some important good news to start the year:

The Government published in December 2023 a new updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which makes reference to Islands in England/Wales that have an older demographic (i.e. the Isle of Wight) can argue "exceptional circumstances".

What does this mean for our case?

Essentially this means that national building targets could be substantially softer for the Island!

Isle of Wight Council were going to vote on a new draft Island Plan at its Full Council meeting on 17th January 2024 and due to the new NPPF, they have had to withdraw the draft plan to seek legal advice.

Weather wise the Island’s ecological and geological circumstances have radically changed and the debate to not build on greenfield sites near to the coast such as in Ryde (West Acre Park / Westridge Farmland) and Bembridge due to their importance for flood/coastal protection is clearly on the agenda.

What can you achieve by supporting this campaign?

As you may know, the West Acre Park planning permission notice has already been issued by Isle of Wight Council, and subsequently evidence was submitted by Greenfields legal team to the High Court in London.

In supporting this campaign we are collectively forcing the Council to scrap that decision.

You are environmental pioneers, and this campaign would not have got where it is without you.

To ensure that this case gets to fruition and the decision completely revised because of its alleged flaws and never made again, we do need to get to our next financial target so that we can see this case through in court to a positive outcome and result.

This is also important for planning in the future on the Island and across England. It is a test case which will act as an agent of change in future applications on greenfield sites. It will empower future generations, and it could potentially give power back to residents and away from landowners and developers.

What do we now urgently need to do?

Please spread the word as wide as you can, and encourage everyone you can to make a financial contribution, no matter how small or large, to the cause.

Please continue to give as much as you can.

It is vital that we see this through to completion!


https://savewestridgefarm.org.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/savewestridgefarm

Update 27

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Dec. 14, 2023

Sewage flowing into the Solent Marine Reserve, and Flooding of Homes

Highest rainfall ever, and High Tides - Climate Change, the new norm, in recent weeks has shown its real anger on over-development in Ryde and the east side of the Island.

  • Homes flooded. Southern Water having to continue illegally releasing huge amounts of raw sewage into the environment as surface water has cascaded into the Victorian drainage system.

  • Certain residents making up the 88 houses already built on part of Westridge farmland, West Acre Park ‘development’, had gardens flooded in last few weeks because there was simply nowhere for the water to go!

  • Ryde residents in the Strand had to move into emergency accommodation because homes were flooded with raw sewage, and are still not able to return to their homes.

Nature is telling us what history, local residents and the farmers already knew

That Westridge farmland has always been a natural flood defence for Ryde preventing rain water from gushing down the hill into built-up areas of Ryde.

We firmly believe that building a further 472 houses on these green fields at the top of a hill will simply destroy this natural flood defence, the local eco-system, overwhelm the sewage pumping station at the bottom of the hill which serves all of Ryde, with raw sewage flowing into the sea which will destroy marine life in the international marine reserve.

We firmly believe that we have to get to trial and expose the lies and social injustice within this case so that the Council correct their wrongs and learn not to repeat their conduct.

We have to stand up and say no.

Please help us reach our stretched crowdfunding target.

You are pioneers, and every £ donated to this cause will bring out the truth and bring justice to the people, to Ryde and to the Isle of Wight!

PLEASE stay with us, please support us to collectively reach our new crowdfunding target.

 

Links to Save Westridge Farm Community Action website and facebook:

https://savewestridgefarm.org.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/savewestridgefarm

Update 26

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Dec. 13, 2023

Fighting the Local Authority and Challenging their Actions!

Isle of Wight Council are using public funds, taxpayers’ money to defend this case, and trying to make it financially impossible for residents to continue challenging them.

…But we have met them at every stage.

Yes, there have been times when we’ve felt weary.

- but not once have we ever contemplated giving up. Never!

Our evidence submitted to the High Court is overwhelming, and on so many issues. Over 1500 pages long!

Helen (Ryde resident) says:

“I and thousands of others have objected to these plans for 7 years. The Council should never have passed this application and they failed in their duty to protect this historic, greenfield site which included a dairy farm, thousands of trees and a rare breeding ground for curlews. This whole community is really worried about how Ryde would cope with such a huge building project, when the hospital, surgeries, schools, roads and sewerage system is overrun and cannot cope as it is.”

We can win this case and save the local environment and the greenfield land!

It is totally achievable. If it wasn’t, we would have given up a long time ago.

It is historic and your support so far has been amazing!

We have put together a case that it is believed proves the Isle of Wight Council has acted unlawfully in approving the West Acre Park planning application.

We have got the case to the High Court seeking Judicial Review and now await permission to go to trial.

We need your continued Support!

Because Isle of Wight Council continues to use tax payers’ money to fight residents over the Council’s actions, a cruel reality is being forced upon us.

We will not let them get away with this - pure and simple!

In the next few weeks we believe we will get permission to get to trial, and we now need to have funds to pay a £10,000 deposit (Aarhus cost Order) the High Court will demand to go to trial, and we will also need further funds for the barristers’ costs for this next step. Hence the new stretched crowdfunding target.

We firmly believe that we have to get to trial and expose the lies and social injustice within this case so that they correct their wrongs and learn not to repeat their conduct. We have to stand up and say no.


You are pioneers, and every £ donated to this cause will bring out the truth and bring justice to the people, to Ryde and to the Isle of Wight!

PLEASE stay with us, please support us to collectively reach our new crowdfunding target. 


Links to Save Westridge Farm Community Action website and facebook:

https://savewestridgefarm.org.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/savewestridgefarm

Update 25

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Nov. 24, 2023

Catastrophic Flooding in Ryde - Yet another reason to Save Westridge Farmland

The fight to Save Westridge Farm continues and recent severe flooding in Ryde provides evidence that this important greenspace is vital for flood prevention.

Ryde has recently experienced the largest rainfall event ever recorded in the Ryde area.

On October 25th, over 120 households were flooded with a mix of sewage and surface water, many had to relocate to emergency accommodation.

Ryde's Appley sewage pumping system frequently overflows, with sewage being pumped out to sea into the Marine Reserve and onto Ryde beaches.

Simply, Ryde is built on a hill with the highest points in the South and the lowest in the North (the seafront and esplanade). Westridge Farm is located in the South and East of Ryde and acts as a natural flood barrier for water retention.

Climate Change is bringing severe rainfalls and this literally means waves of surface water cascade off roads and rooftops into the single piped drainage system and mixes with sewage. The pumping station overflows with discharges into the sea, and the drainage system is overwhelmed flooding roads and houses by the sea and in low lying areas.

Building 472 houses only a half mile from the sea on top of the hill will increase surface water runoff and increase overflow of the sewage system.

It simply will destroy the local environment, and would increase the environmental crisis that is evidenced by the recent flooding.

- More than ever we need your support to fight this planning application.

Whilst local residents in Ryde Appley and Elmfield have experienced the worst flooding in Ryde’s history, the legal case of West Acre Park (Westridge Farmland) remains live and lawyers are still working hard.

In September 2023, a case was presented to the High Court and in October the developer and Isle of Wight Council responded to it in a form which have shocked our solicitors and barristers with what appears to be clear fabrication.

We are now waiting for the High Court to grant permission to proceed but we need to hit our new target the very day that decision is made.

Time is short…

Collectively having travelled so far and now being so near, we need to be able to follow through and achieve success.

We need to win this case for the community and environment of the Isle of Wight and have to get justice for residents of Isle of Wight who have been misled by their local authority and developers.

With Isle of Wight Council choosing to spend public funds and defend their position and actions, we will now incur additional costs. An additional £16,000 is now required to be raised which includes additional Barrister’s fees and £10,000 which has to be lodged with the High Court as a form of bond which will be repaid when the case is won.

Please continue to donate as this extra funding will enable us to make sure we can sustain our fight when the local authority and developers continue to cover up their errors and destroy our environment!

Please also share this page with others.

Thank you

Links to Save Westridge Farm Community Action website and Facebook:

https://savewestridgefarm.org.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/savewestridgefarm

Update 24

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Oct. 28, 2023

West Acre Park (WAP) Case progressing!

Firstly, thank you to all those who have pledged funds, you have made this case for justice possible.

This update is to tell you that your funds have been spent wisely towards the case legal costs and the full case was lodged with the High Court on the 15th of September.

You can now download/access the following case documents:

Statement of Facts and Grounds: https://savewestridgefarm.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Statement-of-Facts-and-Grounds.pdf

Chronology: https://savewestridgefarm.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Chronology.pdf

Claim Form: https://savewestridgefarm.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Claim-Form.pdf

Once the case was lodged it was sent to the Isle of Wight Council and the Developers for their responses. They have now responded. Our legal team have now responded through the Courts to these responses.

The next stage is now waiting for the Court/Judge to grant or not permission to proceed to take the case to trial.

We will be continuing this CrowdJustice page and Campaign to keep you posted and to put a new target amount so new pledges of financial support can be made to make sure we have contingencies as now we know the Isle of Wight Council and Developers wish to defend the case. We also now know their defence and are strongly challenging it. Later when able, we will post more papers involved.

The recent flooding in Ryde, Isle of Wight, and the continuing release of sewage onto Ryde beaches, part of the internationally important Solent and Southampton Water Special Protection Area (SPA) marine reserve, makes us more determined to fight against the building on greenfield sites so close to the coastline.

Please continue to support us as this case is about people power and standing up for our community and the natural environment.

We have the evidence that the planning process and Isle of Wight Council have let the community down. They have failed us.

Update 23

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Sept. 15, 2023

Request for Judicial Review lodged with High Court London

Request for Judicial Review was today 15th Sept 2023 lodged with High Court London.

We are seeking Judicial Review of the Isle of Wight Council’s decision process for the West Acre Park planning application (Westridge Farmland).

The Court will now determine if the case has 'Permission To Proceed' upon in Court.

We will keep you updated with further news and case documents as soon as we are able to.

Once again, big thank you to all that have enabled today’s action to be taken.

There is more work to be done, so please stay connected, share and contribute further if you can.

Update 22

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Sept. 14, 2023

Historic First Fundraising Milestone Reached!

Fantastic news that we have reached £39,300! This ensures we can now seek Judicial Review in London High Court!

A very big thank you to all that have contributed, we could not have achieved this without your help.

Although we have reached this milestone, we are continuing to raise funds as no doubt there will be a need for additional monies to ensure we succeed when the case is heard in Court.

Tomorrow 15th September we intend to increase the target amount to be raised to make sure we are best placed in this next phase. So please continue to contribute if you can, and to spread the word to others.

Once again, thank you to all for your contributions and commitment to this just cause.

Update 21

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Sept. 9, 2023

5 x £1,000 match funding offered!

If we raise £4,100 of the remaining £9,100, then five separate members of an Isle of Wight land owning family will each effectively match fund and donate £1,000 each thus enabling us to reach our target of £39,300 to seek Judicial Review in the High Court in London.

We must reach £39,300 by this Friday 15th September to enable us to take Isle of Wight Council to High Court and Judicial Review.

We need your help now to make this happen.

Please donate what you can, and get others to do likewise.

It’s doable!

And it’s historic…

This is the first crowdfunding campaign on the Isle of Wight by the people for the people to contest a planning application/approval. It is a test case that challenges landowners, developers, and the local authority. We are saying STOP! Our case is the process was unlawful, it was wrong. We will not allow this to happen.

Link to Pre-Action Protocol Letter dated 29/8/2023 sent to Isle of Wight Council:
https://savewestridgefarm.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Council-out-PAP-Final-29.08.23.pdf

The above letter has been received by Isle of Wight Council and Developers and clearly sets out our case that the planning approval was UNLAWFUL.

A letter was also sent to Isle of Wight Council 5/9/2023, by Greenfields (IOW) Limited, that states residents not only want justice in overturning the decision to grant planning permission, but for the whole greenfield site to be taken out of the Draft Island Plan.

Link to letter dated 5/9/2023 sent to Isle of Wight Council by Greenfields (IOW) Limited:
https://savewestridgefarm.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Greenfields-IOW-Limited-letter_05sep2023.pdf

This whole campaign for justice is to preserve historic greenfield sites such as Westridge Farm to prevent climate change, preserve nature, and give a safer environment for future generations. We want the voices of ordinary people, the thousands who objected to the planning proposal thorough direct objections to Isle of Wight Council and through petitions.

This is a test case and it will help all Isle of Wight residents in the future in making sure their voices are heard. Please donate further and help us get this action to court on the 15thSeptember.

We can do this, but we need the help of yourself and others.

Links to Save Westridge Farm Community Action website and facebook:

https://savewestridgefarm.org.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/savewestridgefarm

Update 20

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Sept. 9, 2023

Letter sent 5th Sept to Isle of Wight Council re Draft Island Plan

A letter has been sent 5th September to Isle of Wight Council by Greenfields (IOW) Limited that states residents not only want justice in overturning the decision to grant planning permission, but for the whole greenfield site to be taken out of the Draft Island Plan.

https://savewestridgefarm.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Greenfields-IOW-Limited-letter_05sep2023.pdf

We need your help now to take Isle of Wight Council to court.

Please donate what you can, and get others to do likewise.

It’s doable!

And it’s historic…

This is the first crowdfunding campaign on the Isle of Wight by the people for the people to contest a planning application/approval. It is a test case that challenges landowners, developers, and the local authority. We are saying STOP! Our case is the process was unlawful, it was wrong, and we will not allow this to happen.

Update 19

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Aug. 30, 2023

Pre-Action Protocol Letter sent to Isle of Wight Council

29th August 2023 Pre-Action Protocol Letter sent to the Isle of Wight Council giving notice of intent to seek Judicial Review of the grant of planning permission 4th August 2023 re  Planning Application 20/01061/FUL - Demolition of agricultural buildings and the garage to No 125 Marlborough Road; Proposed development consisting of 473 new dwellings etc.

Residents have been fighting this development, and actions of Isle of Wight Council, for over 7 years… we are so close and now is not the time to give up!

So close to seeing justice done, and the environment and habitat of internationally endangered species such as Curlew, Dormouse etc. being protected!

We are working hard to raise the remaining funds.

We need to reach the target £39,300 by 15thSept to enable our barristers to take this to Judicial Review in London High Courts.

Please donate whatever amount you can, the larger the amount the quicker we reach the target.

If you have donated already please donate again if you are able.

Please also spread the word as wide as you can, asking others if they are able to contribute as well.

Link to Pre-Action Protocol Letter dated 29th August 2023:

https://savewestridgefarm.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Council-out-PAP-Final-29.08.23.pdf

Link to Save Westridge Farm Community action website and facebook:

https://savewestridgefarm.org.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/savewestridgefarm


Update 18

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Aug. 24, 2023

Westridge Farmland (West Acre Park Application) Update!

The Journey to get Justice for People and the Environment has started!

We have 22 days to meet our target of £39,300 and to enable us to take our case to the High Court in London to seek Judicial Review.

Our barristers and solicitors are finalising our case and the first stage of the journey to court starts shortly with a Pre-Action Letter going to Isle of Wight Council and developers. The 616 pledges of £26,421 have made this happen and got us this far, which is an average pledge of £43.

The Pre-Action Letter will be posted on the Crowdfunding site next week and you will be able to see how strong our case is and how many mistakes and errors have been made in process.

We need you now to help us over the next 22 days to get the final funding to enable us to get to Court.

We need real people power, determination and enthusiasm to get this injustice heard.

It is like we have been on a marathon, have covered over 20 miles and are almost there.
So close now, only a few miles to go, but it is starting to hurt.
We now need to dig in, show our resolve and get to the finish.

Your support to pledge further, share and encourage others to pledge, and make comment on why you are supporting this cause is vital.

Your voice needs to be heard!

How we can get to the target…

  • 616 pledges of £21.00 = Target!
  • 300 pledges of £43.00 (the average so far) = Target!
  • 258 pledges of £50.00 = Target!
  • 129 pledges of £100 = Target!
  • 65 pledges of £200 = Target!
  • 26 pledges of £500 = Target!
  • 13 pledges (just 13?) of £1000 = Target!

A big thank you to all of you that have supported this cause so far and pledged funding so that Isle of Wight and Ryde residents can get justice.

Please let’s work together and get this social and environmental injustice to Judicial Review for the sake of future generations of residents and visitors to our beautiful island and UNESCO Biosphere site of environmental importance.

We need to reach our target of £39,300 to do so! 

Every further pledge gets us closer to getting justice!

Update 17

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Aug. 9, 2023

Clock Now Ticking On Legal Action - PLANNING DECISION NOTICE HAS BEEN ISSUED

The Decision Notice for Westacre Park was issued 4th August 2023. 

We now have 37 Days to raise the funds to get to the next stage. We cannot continue unless we hit target.

This is totally achievable. Please donate.

Thank you

Update 16

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Aug. 4, 2023

URGENT UPDATE - Westridge Farmland and West Acre Park Development

Update 4th August 2023:

  • Since 25th April 2023 Isle of Wight Council has NOT YET ISSUED PLANNING CONSENT.
  • Residents are still seeking Judicial Review.
  • Lawyers acting on behalf of residents have prepared a detailed case and are only waiting for Isle of Wight Council to issue consent.
  • Legal Action is Imminent! It is believed consent is about to be issued in the next week or so.


Isle of Wight Council needs being held to account.

  • We are short of the fundraising target and we do need to hit it.
  • We need your financial support to make sure our fighting fund is able to go all the way, so we still need your further support.

Please give generously if you can, and please also spread the word to others. Thank you. 


What has happened in this application process is simply wrong, and if not put before a Judge, Isle of Wight Council will get away with a huge miscarriage of justice, and other applications such as currently in Bembridge would be affected by bad and misleading process.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the residents have identified a large number of errors made by the Council during the planning application process. They have prepared a detailed case for a Judicial Review. A Judicial Review looks at whether the proper process was followed during the application process. We do not have the right to seek a Judicial Review until consent is issued.

We have no information on the delay in issuing consent, but view this as a possible continuing strategy of the Isle of Wight Council to drag out the process even longer to exhaust residents’ will and ability to fight on.

Lawyers have been on standby with a fully developed legal case poised against the Isle of Wight Council. There have been delays totalling 2 years which we view as being the possible continued strategy of the Council to exhaust residents and supporters of this cause which is viewed as totally achievable.

 

Last Chance to Stop this Development

On 25th April 2023, Isle of Wight Council Planning Committee approved the planning application to build 472 dwellings for a second time by a narrow margin of 6 votes to 5.

Until planning consent is granted and issued by Isle of Wight Council, residents do not have the right to seek Judicial Review.

We believe consent is about to be issued.

 

Global Boiling, Not Global Warming!

"The era of global boiling has arrived. Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning” the UN secretary general, António Guterres, has said after scientists confirmed July was on track to be the world's hottest month on record. July is now the hottest month ever recorded.

Westridge Farmland is very much about green fields essential to the Island’s fragile biosphere and natural environment, and also its coastal eco-system.

If 472 houses are built in Ryde on this site the following would have happened! These are reasons to continue supporting this fight:

  • No Democracy - Isle of Wight Council as a Local Planning Authority would get away with not having followed proper process in deciding this application. They will get away with a huge miscarriage of justice which could lead to further faulty application processes being passed. This puts every resident at risk of wrong decision making, and every green field and important environmental site at risk. This eats away at the very special fabric of the Island! Isle of Wight Council has not followed required process, has not taken into consideration real material planning considerations and has not properly listened to its residents.
  • Climate Change Crisis! – This green field site is part of a corridor of green land that goes from the south and east of Ryde north to Appley Park and Appley Beach, which is an important protected and internationally recognised shoreline. It is a corridor that protects wildlife, and provides breeding and feeding grounds for many endangered and internationally protected species including Curlew and Dormouse. Simply by building on this site, there is a danger the whole local natural eco-system will be destroyed at a time of climate change crisis and the need to protect the environment and also have the ability to produce food locally.
  • Against Isle of Wight Council's Draft Planning Strategy which states:
    "The loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats will not be permitted except in wholly exceptional cases and then only when a suitable compensation strategy is provided. There are a number of habitats and features outside of designated sites that make a significant contribution to local biodiversity. Development proposals are expected to promote the maintenance and enhancement of the links between designated sites and to positively contribute to the aims and objectives of the biodiversity action plans."
    The Draft Planning Strategy makes much of the Isle of Wight's UNESCO Biosphere status.
    We note that Iain Delaney, Director of Captiva Homes the developers, is on the Isle of WIght Biosphere Steering Group.
  • Sewage in the Sea – Appley Beach and surrounding area, part of the Solent and Southampton Water Special Protection Area (SPA), is a precious, protected and environmentally important resource for both nature and human well-being.
    However, it is in danger daily and in the last twelve months over 135 illegal releases of sewage were made by Southern Water at Appley Beach due to increasing heavy flash rain flooding and overpowering of our old sewage system forcing sewage being released into the sea at Appley.
    The Westridge Farmland development will increase the risk of rain flash flooding with sewage destroying the marine life, destroying Ryde’s tourism economy, impacting on the Island’s tourism economy, and risking health.

 

In posting these updates, we are conscious that the matter of the destruction of Westridge Farmland and the planning application for West Acre Park has evolved into a real saga.

Indeed, this whole nightmare is now tragically interwoven into the fabric of the history and the future of the beautiful town of Ryde and its internationally important surrounding countryside and coastal habitat.

Please contribute all you can to help us fight this wrongdoing.

What we need right now:

  • Your positive support to make our voices heard.
  • Your financial support to make sure we have enough money to seek and to completely follow through on Judicial Review.

 

Thank you.

Update 15

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

June 14, 2023

The Last Chance for Residents to Stop West Acre Park Development!

Isle of Wight Council is shortly to issue consent for the development of 472 houses on Westridge Farm land in East Ryde. We believe that could be this week. The planning application came back to IW Council planning committee for consideration on 25th April 2023 after being first approved on 27th July 2021. The planning committee voted 6 to 5 to approve the application. The fight to save the farm and green field land from development has stopped consent being issued until now. Solicitors and barristers for Greenfields (IOW) Limited are now finalising the case to seek Judicial Review as soon as a consent notice is issued.

Key Facts

  • If residents and the community do not want to see 472 houses built on historic and environmentally important green fields within the boundary of Ryde, then seeking Judicial Review is the only option which must be explored right to the very end until no recourse is available. Anything short of seeing this through to the end represents a wasted opportunity for saving Ryde.

  • Our case is that the process by IW Council in deciding planning permission for this site is flawed and proper legal process has not been followed. This is well documented and legal opinion provided to residents clearly identified this case is a huge social and environmental injustice that not on only affects Ryde residents but residents and visitors to Isle of Wight.

  • This development will cause serious environmental and climate change damage to Ryde that already has a deficit of green space.

  • The reality is that the development will turn the east of Ryde into a massive building site for over 10 years that will inevitably cause dust, traffic issues and disrupt residents’ lives and livelihoods for years and generations to come.

  • 6 weeks after consent is granted our full legal case (the statement of claim) will be in the public domain when presented to the courts and you will be able to see how badly IW Council has behaved and what the reality of injustice residents are faced with.

Your support is urgently needed!

Generous donations to the crowdfunding site has enabled residents to make sure their voice was heard (as it was forensically clear that none of your written objections were considered to be worthy) and prepare a strong legal case to challenge IW Council and the developers. We have fought hard over the past two years to get the decision overturned and prevent consent being issued. The reality is now we have to get our case to a Judge and seek justice through the judicial system. We need further generous donations to fight our case.

We need your donations FAST.

As ever, thank you.

Update 14

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

April 28, 2023

West Acre Park Campaign Update

Dear Valued Supporters,

I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to provide you with a crucial update on this ongoing campaign to raise funds for a potential Judicial Review against the Isle of Wight Council's planning decision for the consent of 473 new houses on green belt land in Ryde.

I would firstly like to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone for their unwavering support and commitment to this cause. Over the past 603 days, we have successfully raised £19,830, more than half of our aspirational target of £35,000. Your generosity has empowered us to enlist the services of the environmental solicitors Richard Buxton, who have diligently reviewed the relevant evidence of the planning procedures against statutory laws and have produced clear summaries of evidence reviewed that suggests there were, indeed, critical issues with the planning consent procedures.

We have now reached a critical milestone in our campaign: the case is currently posed to be updated and reviewed in preparation for a full legal filing so that it can be presented at the High Court for a judicial review. I am encouraged to know that, having thoroughly reviewed the evidence, Richard Buxton solicitors are confident that there are strong grounds for a case. This achievement would not have been possible without your steadfast belief in the importance of our cause, and your faith in the potential for change, as well as your generous donations.

After careful consideration, however, I have made the personal decision to step aside from leading this campaign so that I can focus my energy on various community-centred projects in and around Ryde. This decision was not taken lightly, and I continue to trust in our democratic strength and determination to ensure that this campaign continues to thrive with the support of the people it serves.

Since launching the campaign, I have found renewed assurances that the promises outlined in the Section 106 agreement will be adhered to and maintained throughout the project, and into the future. As a ward Councillor, I will continually be checking in with the development to ensure that West Acre Park truly meets the needs of existing and new members of our Ryde community (so please let me know if you see any contraventions of this!) 

Crucially, this campaign has always been about challenging the Isle of Wight Council with their processes. I sincerely hope that our efforts will lead to clear and meaningful assurances from the Isle of Wight Council that they will thoroughly review protocols and procedures around large planning applications and reflect deeply on errors that have been made in these ethical and legal processes. There must be significantly greater care and adherence to our democratic laws during these crucially important times.

As we prepare for this next phase of the campaign, I encourage you all to remain engaged and committed to our shared cause. Together, we have the power to shape the future we want for our community, and I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished so far.

Thank you once again for your unwavering support, and I look forward to witnessing the positive impact our campaign will have on the Isle of Wight.

Local resident Mark Gaskin has come forward to manage the campaign and will be providing further updates soon.

Warm regards,

Jenna Sabine

Update 13

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Feb. 14, 2023

The Fight to Save the Curlew and Westridge Farm Continues

The Save Westridge Farm Campaign has been a long fight and will continue to be, but it is an important fight as it is a fight for justice and preservation of nature, wildlife, and the environment. The tenant farmers for over 60 years have now left and the cows are no longer on the fields which is a tragedy in itself. However, this makes the fight more important as this is a viable and important food productive green environmentally important space.

Westridge Farm land is a designated ancillary protected feeding site for Solent Waders and Migration Birds such as the Curlew and Brent Geese. Natural England admit they failed to recognise this when the planning application to build 472 houses back in 2020 and object. In the Summer of 2022, when the legal agreement was being written, Natural England objected, citing the issue of these feeding sites. As this would mean conditions would have to be changed as agreed on the 21st July 2021 when planning permission was approved, it has to go back to the Planning Committee for approval on this one key point. Consent can only be given if this is approved and only when consent is granted can solicitors seek Judicial Review.

The IWC Ryde Appley and Elmfield Ward Councillor will and is challenging the likely recommendation to approve an agreement between Natural England and the developer. It is viewed this is a further injustice, as there has been no consultation on this proposed agreement with residents. In fact, as it is a fundamental change to what was presented to the planning committee on 21st July 2021, one could reasonably argue that the whole application is void and the process of application would start from scratch.

Currently, the IW Council Planning Department has scheduled the application to come back to IWC Planning Committee on 21st March or 24th April 2023. At time of writing, the developer had not supplied IW Council with the proposed agreement with Natural England on the feeding sites so the case officer can write a report to committee with a recommendation.

More than ever, this farm and its land is needed to protect the environment and its nature/wildlife, but also provide food. In Ryde, there are over 2000 children living with food poverty and no access to fresh local and nutritious food. Ryde Town Council in 2021 agreed a motion to register the farmland as a community asset and be preserved as a community farm producing fresh food for the community and be accessible to residents to enjoy the wonderful nature on the site including the curlew. This motion still stands. Ryde, as the Isle of Wight’s largest most populated town, has 4 of the most deprived wards on the Island and in the top 10% of most deprived wards in the UK. Ryde has a deficit of green space and the loss of this farmland is a huge missed opportunity for benefitting the existing local communities of Ryde and surrounding areas. This fight is not just about the environment but about poverty and food insecurity.

Please see links to current press coverage of the on-going saga as below:

We need your support, community-resilience and resolve more than ever to stop this development from happening and protect this productive farmland and green space. The sadness is that if the incoming Act of Parliament for Levelling-Up and Regeneration (2023) and the new proposed National Planning Policy Framework (2023) was in place in 2021, this application would, more than likely, have been solidly refused. We need to shout out about these injustice and save this land from development. Please share this post and consider further donation so we can continue the fight. Your generosity has enabled our solicitors to have both procedural and substantive grounds on this case and ready to go but it is a long fight and we need further resources to keep the fight going. Thank you for all your support.

Update 12

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Nov. 17, 2022

Westrdridge Farm / Westacre Park Judicial Review Update

Westrdridge Farm / Westacre Park Judicial Review Update

The fight continues to stop this environmental and human injustice! We need your support in this national campaign!

This update is calling all those who love Ryde, Isle of Wight and deeply care about preserving important environmental green space for future generations.

It is now 16 months since, Isle of Wight Planning Committee approved the West Acre Park planning application to build 472 houses on a working environmental-friendly farm. In November, all the farm machinery have been sold and the tenant farmers who lived their since the 1960s will be gone by Xmas. Our case is that this sad event was triggered by a flawed and challengeable (in law) decision. This is a huge social and environmental injustice!

IW Council Local Planning Authority has not issued consent and therefore the planning application sits in “limbo” non-approved. The last delay has been caused by Natural England  pointing out that the Developers had furnished them with incorrect information about the Site which led to them not objecting. They highlighted the application’s conditional permission excluded the fact houses were being built on the feeding grounds of protected Solent waders and migrating birds. IW Council’s planning officers are now bringing the application back to planning committee at its mid-December meeting just before Christmas and during a cost-of-living crisis. If the planning committee decides to agree to the proposed mitigation plan agreed by Natural England in regard the Curlews and Brent Geese, then it is likely consent will be granted. It is viewed that if natural England had objected at the appropriate time prior to the planning committee in July 2021, then the application arguably would have more than likely been refused.

A farming family have paid the price in the alleged incompetency of IWC’s planning department and committee and lost their home and living. Isle of Wight residents, the community, and people across England have been shocked by the blatant misuse of power and process. Surely it is impossible to accept that this can be allowed to happen at this critical point in history? The case compiled by residents’ lawyers point to substantial and numerous examples of malpractice.

The evidence of IW Council’s failure in this application is evidenced by the Local Government Association’s Peer Review (2022) which highlighted IW Council’s need for an updated Island Plan/Strategy. IW Council by a majority rejected the draft Island Plan at its September meeting and as yet not resolved the way forward. This simply means the Isle of Wight Council remains subject to applications having to be approved in favour of sustainable development which favours developers and landowners. The fact Ryde, the largest populated Town which has a deficit of green space and the fact the farm was sustainable and viable, was seen as irrelevant as IW Council had not updated its plan since 2012 and was out-of-date.

The community of Ryde and future generations have been thoroughly let down. Ryde as the largest populated town with 4 of the most disadvantaged areas on the Island has lost its last working farm and the last significant natural green space outside of municipal parks. Ryde has a huge deficit now of green space. After reviewing the evidence it is our belief that it is without a doubt this loss has been due to conspiracy, malpractice and injustice.

The prolonged agony in the Section 106 legal agreement between IW Council and applicant and landowners being signed, has been costly to the objectors. We now have a situation where the final decision to correct a mistake will be made prior to Chrstmas 2022 and consent (if approved) in early January 2023 within a cost-of-living crisis. Residents due to this delay will have to raise at least a further £16,000  to pursue this social injustice to the very end as they will only have 6 weeks from consent to apply for Judicial Review. It is hard not to conclude that IW Council, Applicants and Landowners have timed the final decision and consent at a time that residents and community are most weakest financially and mentally (the distress of the cost-of-living crisis), when the tenant farmers have left, and during the height of winter when it is the most difficult to organise and campaign.

The next stages when consent is granted, is the residents’ lawyers to a judge/court for judicial review. If this is granted then a court date will be set and IW Council will have to account for their actions in full. Residents rarely have opportunities to bring a Council to account when injustice happens as they need financial support.

This has always been a Daniel and Goliath situation with the might of a local authority and the wealth of the developer and landowner against ordinary and poorer residents and community. However, Climate Change is showing us even more than ever, that this beautiful pastured and wildlife rich and environmentally important greenfield site is needed and not the 472 houses. Ryde Town Council voted on a motion in 2021/22 to make this farmland a community asset and preserve it for the community. Seaview and Nettlestone Parish Council contributed funds towards the fight against the application.

More than ever we need your support to continue to challenge the flawed decision and fight for the future of our children and future generations. We cannot allow the wealthy landowners and developers in this case profit from social injustice. We cannot allow IW Council get away with this perceived incompetency and malpractice.

We believe that the decision was wrong and residents of Ryde and all residents in England, deserve this case to go to Judicial Review and it is wrong a local authority and private developers and landowners play a game of poker with our lives and environment by playing a game of continually raising the financial stakes when our lawyers have instructed us it is illegal.

Please support us to fight this injustice and save our environment.

Your support has been vital as it has paid for a detailed case to be assembled. Your support is now needed to final get justice by taking this case to court straight through to hearing. As case managers hours, days and weeks of labour have already gone into this. We do it because we want a future for our children and generations to come, for our environment which now more than ever is our most precious blessing, we do it because we love Ryde.

We knew it was never going to be easy but nothing worthwhile is - but without you we cannot do this at all. You have been invaluable and for that thank you. 

Please share this email, copy and paste, and spread the word and get justice for Islanders and justice to save our environment.

JUSTICE FOR ISLANDERS, JUSTICE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

Update 11

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Sept. 26, 2022

The Fight for Westridge Farm Land Continues – Latest Update

The legal team is ready to immediately apply for Judicial Review, but only once formal consent is granted. It has been 14 months since planning approval was given, and consent has still not been issued.

The reason for the permission not yet being issued is apparently twofold. Firstly, drafting the lengthy ‘S106 agreement’ has taken over 14 months. These agreements can be notoriously challenging to write, but we would like to highlight that a recent LGA Peer Review (2022) emphasised the need for Isle of Wight Council to improve on the length of time it takes to complete legal agreements. We have recently been informed that the legal agreements have now been sent to the landowners for signature.  

Secondly, whilst the above process was ongoing, Natural England (NE) raised a concern that in arriving at their original recommendation and resolution, the Council had not had due regard to the impact the proposed development might have on supporting habitat, as identified in the Solent Waders and Brent Geese Strategy. NE recognised that they did not identify this as an issue during the public consultation on the application. The email from NE raising their concerns has been placed online on the Planning Register for the application.

The applicant is now in discussions with Natural England to find solution(s). If a solution(s) are found, the applicant will have to submit this to IW LPA (Local Planning Authority) for due consideration by the relevant parties. It is expected that the Appropriate Assessment for the application (as required under the Habitats Regulations) will also need to be updated. This could mean the application has to come back to IW Planning Committee for consideration, as it could mean that sufficiently substantial conditions were not discussed at the initial planning committee meeting on the 29th July 2021 which must now be considered.

Local Ward Councillors are now recommendation the application be recalled to the planning committee, as this is further evidence that residents’ objections around the serious loss of supporting habitat for Curlews and Brent Geese (which are protected species), were absolutely correct. Natural England have admitted they did not identify the issue during the Public Consultation. This could be regarded, in court, as further evidence that IW LPA dismissed residents and other objectors’ concerns with regard to protected species. Instead they were simply responded to with the statement that the principal  statutory consultee on habitat regulations raised no objections. 

While delaying the decision which we need in order to launch a judicial review, these enquiries and potential recalls add weight to the case-in-point, that the decision on the 29th July was potentially flawed, built on foundations of false information by a statutory consultee. These green fields, close to the Solent on the East of the Wight, provide important habitats for protected birds and sustain their natural migratory rhythm. Furthermore, the environmentally friendly farmer who protected the habit for these birds has since ceased working and carefully managing the farm which was a grass-fed dairy due to flawed information and a flawed decision.

Update 10

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

July 27, 2022

Anniversary of Decision and Still No Consent Given?

The majority of the cows have been sold at Westridge Farm and the tenant farmers are planning their move on future. This is devastating news to the community. It is exactly one year since the fatal night when IW Council Planning Committee decided after three votes to grant planning permission after a disputed and acrimonious meeting. Proper due process was evidently not followed. However, after 1 year no consent has yet been granted due to IW Council not finalising the Section 106 agreement. Until this legal document is signed, the consent cannot be issued and residents’ legal team cannot go to court to start proceedings to seek judicial review. A judicial review challenge has 6 weeks to take place from the date of consent. This is totally unacceptable and appears to be a delaying tactic by IW Council and developer to take any momentum out of the residents’ action to seek justice for the decision 12 months ago.

A recent Local Government Association Peer Review (2022) into IW Council’s planning process and procedures highlighted the IW Council’s inadequacies and inefficiencies. The report emphasised problems within the planning committee process and raised concerns about the length of time legal agreements took and for consent to be granted. This just provides further evidence that a huge injustice happened 12 months ago.

We wish to reassure you that residents’ legal team have been working hard and have gathered all the legal evidence and statements to immediately start action, as soon as IW Council’s issues consent. They have compiled a strong case. We thank you for your support and assure you your donation has been used properly in pursuance of justice. As soon as consent is issued we will inform you. Although sadly, the farm is ceasing, it is still a historic and viable and sustainable farm. This extremely hot summer has shown the reality of climate change and the need to protect green fields and local food production land environmentally for future generations. The fight goes on for justice!

Update 9

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

March 31, 2022

Going to Court Only Option Now!

This is an update on what has been happening over the last few months and the next steps. We need your support to raise further funds, a target of £4000 to move to the next phase of this important campaign. 

Our legal team has been working with supportive IW Councillors in getting motions to IW Planning Committee that recalled the application from the 27th July 2022 meeting for reconsideration. There were three attempts. The first motion in January was withdrawn at the last moment due to the tenant farmers being offered funds/settlement by the developer to withdraw on condition they wrote prior to the meeting (copying in the developers as evidence) to IW Council stating they withdrew their personal objection to the application. The tenant family just want a peaceful life now so will not be directly or indirectly involved in this campaign. This campaign is about holding the planning officials to account to avoid atrocities like this in the future and to ensure that due diligence is followed with all decisions that have been made. We have been told by our solicitors that due diligence has not been followed and are therefore acting on behalf of the people of Ryde to remedy this.

The residents have continued to fight this battle and a motion at the IW Planning Committee was put forward. This was fiercely blocked by the Vice-Chair of the Planning Committee and the Chair of the 27th July meeting who used his casting vote to block refusal of the application and get it approved. He used delaying tactics of calling points of order to push the motion out of time and the meeting had to be adjourned. After the meeting it was declared that IW Council had finalised the legal agreement with the developer and was about to issue consent. The Motion was deferred to the 29th March, Planning Committee meeting and 5 x Conservative Councillors and 1 Independent Labour (Chair of the 27th July meeting) voted against the motion to recall. The vote was 4 (3 x Independents and 1 Conservative) for the motion and six against. The residents’ case and copies of the legal letters from residents’ legal team were blocked for circulation to residents and IW Council legal advice heavily emphasised that Judicial Review action by local residents’ was low risk and that the recommended option was to vote against recall and defend the 27th July decision. The weight against the residents’ voice being heard was massive. 

The residents’ wrote 5 times to IW Council with detailed letters outlining the 60 plus errors in the process leading up to and during the meeting of 27th July and subsequently after. None of these letters have ever been responded to in full. There has been total denial by IW Council officially anything was wrong. The voice of the resident objectors and petitioners of the original application (6000 plus), the voices of the local councillors, the voice of the Chair of the Planning Committee and local ward councillor, the local Town Council who objected to the application and the voice of the supporters (you) the contributors to the Crowd Funding have been totally ignored in support of making sure the 472 houses are built. See for all the letters sent to IW Council. 

Due to the defeat of the recall motion, there is nothing to stop the planning consent being issued. Residents will then only have 6 weeks to take the case for Judicial Review to Court and we need your support to continue the fight and injustice. The case is solid and the continuation of the IW Council’s block to residents’ voices provides evidence that the decision on the 27th July was wrong legally, ethically and morally. 

Your funds have, to date, contributed to the following: the establishing of the legal team at Richard Buxton Solicitors (Cambridge) and specialist Planning barrister at Francis Taylor Building (London). They have analysed the evidence and the case and counsel have produced viability reports. Correspondence has flowed on a regular basis to the counsel, witness statements compiled collated and the case is poised. Legal advise and assistance has been given to us throughout this period and in the run up to key council meetings. In order to lodge the Judicial Review papers at court. We need your support to get this strong and evidenced case of injustice to a Court and Judge. This will be a landmark case for all planning applications on green fields/farm land on Isle of Wight and across UK. 

Please contribute to our new target and SHARE SHARE SHARE! This injustice is worthy of national attention as a strong example of how we can speak Truth to Power in order to restore some semblance of justice.

Legal Letters from Richard Buxton Solicitors outlining the case for Judicial Review:

Attachment A - Legal representations on WAP to IWC 03Aug2021

Attachment B - Legal representations on WAP to IWC 09Dec2021

Attachment C - Legal representations on WAP to IWC 12Jan2022

Attachment D - Legal representations on WAP to IWC 14Jan2022

Attachment E - Legal representations on WAP to IWC 01Mar2022

Attachment F - Legal representations on WAP to IWC 28Mar2022

Briefing paper on Motion at IWCPC 29Mar2022

Relevant Web Links:

Planning Committee members vote on motion to recall West Acre Park 473-home ... - OnTheWight

Large-Scale Controversial Ryde Development Given The Go-Ahead - Isle of Wight Radio

RYDE'S WEST ACRE PARK DEVELOPMENT FINALLY GIVEN PLANNING PERMISSION

End Of The Road For Westridge Farm? Decision Day For West Acre Park Development



Update 8

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Jan. 19, 2022

Save Westridge Farm: Significant Update

Westridge Farm Update

This is an important and significant update on the ongoing legal action regarding the Westacre Park planning application.

On the 9th December 2021, our lawyers sent this letter to the Council regarding the irregularities which took place pursuant to this application.

Following this letter, the Council have, astoundingly, taken the view that they will not re-consider the matter of Westridge Farm. Given the contents of the letter, this is quite surprising and somewhat alarming!

However, a number of cross-party IW Councillors have made representations against this decision, and a motion is now on the IW Planning Committee agenda on the 25th January 2022 to recall the application. There is also a report on the process/protocol issues raised at the meeting when the application was first heard last July 2021 and clearly outlined in the 9th December letter which provides further evidence of how flawed the decision was in the first place. The agenda with motion and the protocols report will shortly be in the public domain and available from the IW Council website.

The letter highlights the strong rationale for correcting the deeply flawed planning process. Depending on the decision next week, we might have to consider further litigation to correct the sheer injustice of what the Council has determinedly resolved to do to the people of the Isle of Wight, by showing its contempt for them, at its worst. In order to take the Isle of Wight Council to full judicial review, which we now have strong grounds to do, we will possibly need to rapidly generate renewed interest and funds for legal fees.

Further updates may start coming even more frequently now.

Warmest wishes for 2022,

Save Westridge Farm

Update 7

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Nov. 14, 2021

Save Westridge Farm Update!

Dear Pledgers!

Apologies for the long period of radio silence. The legal team at Richard Buxton solicitors have been very busy with the case but have now advised us to notify our pledgers of some good news!

We've been told by our instructed barrister that we have both procedural and substantial grounds to judifically review the decision to grant planning for the West Acre park development

In simple terms, this means that the team at Richard Buxton have reviewed various pieces of evidence and have concluded that there are substantial grounds to challenge the decision.

In the meantime, we'll need to be patient as the case unfolds but you can expect to receive regular updates (but there may be a month or two between each update!)

All the best,

The Save Westridge Farm campaign!

Update 6

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Sept. 22, 2021

£13,000 pledged!

We have done it!

Through sheer collective effort and impassioned generosity, we have hit our target with 11 days remaining!

This is an incredible achievement. Thank you to all those who pledged, some multiple times.

We will keep everyone updated as things progress but we can all relax knowing that further investigations are now possible, thanks to the good nature of our democracy.

Thank you Crowd Justice! Thank you people of the world!

Xxx

Update 5

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Sept. 20, 2021

Thank you, nearly there!

We are now within just £900 of our target!

Jenna Sabine and the Save Westridge Farm team would like to thank everyone for their extremely generous pledges. You are all fantastic and this process has really highlighted how committed and passionate we are about justice in our democracy. 

With our initial target now safely within the hundreds of pounds, it looks promising that we will reach our first goal to carry out a full judicial review.

Jenna will be speaking with Isle of Wight Radio tomorrow and we expect another press release to go out Island wide (and even nationally) about this. Please continue to share with friends and families.

...and have a lovely week ahead!

Update 4

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Sept. 15, 2021

Past the 10k way point!

We've passed the 10k point!

This means we've reached 80% of our campaign total already.

Please keep on giving as generously as you can to add further strength to the judicial review.

We just want to offer our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has pledged and shown your passion and commitment for this cause.

Thank you!!!!

Update 3

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Sept. 11, 2021

Judicial Review: Save Westridge Farm Update

Lawyers who are already carrying out a preliminary review have advised that this is a classic example for judicial review and if awarded permission for full trial case could have significant impact for the Save Westridge Farm campaign, and potentially for other similar developments locally and nationally.

But...We've Stalled!!!

🚜 🚜 🚜

Advice from the experts at Crowd Justice have suggested that we need to keep the impetus going with the campaign for it to be successful.

Please share and give as generously as you can. If you feel passionate about this campaign then you might also consider emailing your friends and families to let them know about our plight. 

Wishing everyone a happy weekend and week ahead. Let's see if we can get to  £10,000 by the end of next week!

Read more information on our Save Westridge Farm Website: https://savewestridgefarm.org.uk/
Update 2

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Sept. 9, 2021

Approaching £8000...within 1 week!

It is so encouraging today to be so close to £8000!
 
On average this means the campaign has raised £1000 a day. If we keep this up then we will smash through the target and be able to make an even more thorough and forensic investigation of the shenanigans that have taken place! 

We've had pledges from so many concerned Island residents and also from much further afield. 

Let's make this a landmark challenge and hope for a fairer and greener Island for future generations. Read more comments or make a pledge here:


And, as always, SHARE SHARE SHARE 
Update 1

Greenfields (IOW) Limited

Sept. 8, 2021

We've smashed the halfway mark!

Wow! In just six days of the campaign we have smashed through the halfway mark and are nearly at £7000!

Thank you so much for all of your passionate support with the campaign. 

If you have not already done so, please forward the Crowd Justice link to your family, friends and social network, letting them know that things are looking promising to secure the necessary funds, but we still need to spread the message even further afield.

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has pledged so far to support this cause.

Xxx

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