Save Westridge Farm Campaign

by Jenna Sabine

Save Westridge Farm Campaign

by Jenna Sabine
Jenna Sabine
Case Owner
Jenna is passionate about saving Westridge Farm from development to become a working community asset.
17
days to go
£18,050
pledged of £18,000 stretch target from 434 pledges
Pledge now
Jenna Sabine
Case Owner
Jenna is passionate about saving Westridge Farm from development to become a working community asset.
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: 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 n…

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 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 10

Jenna Sabine

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

Jenna Sabine

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

Jenna Sabine

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

Jenna Sabine

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

Jenna Sabine

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

Jenna Sabine

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

Jenna Sabine

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

Jenna Sabine

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

Jenna Sabine

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

Jenna Sabine

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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