Stop Taylor Wimpey Takeover at Woodcock Hill Village Green

by Pat Strack, Woodcock Hill Village Green Committee Chair

Stop Taylor Wimpey Takeover at Woodcock Hill Village Green

by Pat Strack, Woodcock Hill Village Green Committee Chair
Pat Strack, Woodcock Hill Village Green Committee Chair
Case Owner
Please help with our Judicial Review of an Inspector’s decision to allow Taylor Wimpey to take part of our Village Green. Residents have used this rich, biodiverse land in living memory.
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Pat Strack, Woodcock Hill Village Green Committee Chair
Case Owner
Please help with our Judicial Review of an Inspector’s decision to allow Taylor Wimpey to take part of our Village Green. Residents have used this rich, biodiverse land in living memory.
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!)

Who am I? 

I am the chair of the Woodcock Hill Village Green Committee, an organisation set up to conserve, manage and preserve the Village Green for wildlife, as well as encouraging education and recreation at the site.  The committee has been leading voluntary 'working parties' which maintain and enhance the Village Green for years, erecting signs and benches, digging ponds, clearing brambles, etc.

Unfortunately, in May 2022, an Inspector decided that part of the Village Green could be taken by Taylor Wimpey in 'exchange' for inferior land further away from residents who use the green. Our legal team think the inspector made legal errors in doing so, in particular by not acknowledging residents' legal right to maintain and enhance a village green for nature conservation (which he ignored when finding that the land would degrade if the exchange did not proceed). This case could set a precedent to prevent future decisions which the users of Town and Village Greens can maintain and enhance the land to preserve it environmental values.

The Woodcock Hill Village Green Committee is therefore leading a campaign to bring a Judicial Review to overturn the inspector's decision to allow Taylor Wimpey to exchange part of the Village Green at Woodcock Hill in Borehamwood for inferior land in Elstree. Taylor Wimpey will fence in the land and leave all the improvements that working parties of residents have carried out for 14 years to decay. 5 ponds will silt up and habitats and aquatic wildlife will be lost.  Brambles are already taking over and diminishing biodiversity.

I am a resident of Borehamwood, Herts who started a campaign to save green belt land used by local residents for recreation from development in 1996.  In 2002 the land was registered  as a Local Wildlife Site by Hertsmere Borough Council.  In 2008 after a Public Inquiry the land was designated  as Village Green. Woodcock Hill village Green Environmental Project was formed.  WHVG Committee  thought the Village Green was saved in perpetuity.

The Application to Take the Land

The law was changed in 2016.  Owners of registered Village Green land were able to offer alternative land as replacement. In 2018 Taylor Wimpey the owners withdrew permission for our monthly working parties to continue.  By 2020 TW had filed to have part of the VG in Borehamwood deregistered and offered inferior land in Elstree as replacement.  A public inquiry was held.  The inspector found in favour of Taylor Wimpey.

£40k is needed to pay our legal team and court fees through to a full hearing of our case in the High Court.

What are we trying to achieve? 

The flat land that Taylor Wimpey want was registered for the benefit of residents of Borehamwood to have easy open access to a Nature Reserve where flora, fauna and human recreation were balanced. The working parties brought the community together. 

The replacement land in Elstree is half a mile away reached by a steep gradient and was formerly used for grazing horses.  It is fenced and will have to be accessed by a gate on a noisy busy road or through some garages . It will take decades for the replacement land to achieve, the kind of bio diversity that had been encouraged by improvement works at the land in Borehamwood.  The loss of 5 ponds created is of great significance

What is the next step in the case? 

Richard Buxton Solicitors, are acting on behalf of the WHVG Committee along with specialist barrister, Joe Thomas. We filed judicial review case in the High Court on 2nd August 2022.  We are awaiting  a judge's decision about whether we are granted 'permission' to go to a full hearing, which is the first stage in any judicial review.

How much we are raising and why? 

Our legal team  are working on a reduced basis in order to help us bring this case, but we still need significant  funding.  There are court fees  and other costs win or lose.  Our legal team need some funding, and If the case is lost the rules require  that we will need to pay some costs of the other side. All told, we are fundraising to a budget of £40,000 to ensure that we have adequate funds to take this case all the way through to a final judgement.

Thank you for helping us achieve our goal

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