UPDATE: Battle is over for Town Green campaigners

Dorset Echo: Campaigners Alf and Mary Larkin, Gill and Tref Taylor outside the Supreme Court in London Campaigners Alf and Mary Larkin, Gill and Tref Taylor outside the Supreme Court in London

CAMPAIGNERS have reached the end of the road in their fight to re-instate a Town Green after the bid was turned down by the Supreme Court.

The Society for the Protection of Markham and Little Francis had their appeal dismissed by the Law Lords today following a hearing at the London court in January.

And the decade-long battle over the land in Weymouth has finally come to an end as chairman of the group Gill Taylor revealed the campaigners will not be able to appeal the decision.

Despite the disappointment, Mrs Taylor declared it was 'a battle worth fighting'.

At the hearing at the Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the country, the law lords were told that there had been an 'exceptionally long' period of delay between the land being granted the status in 2001 and the landowners applying for the decision to be overturned.

The status was revoked by the High Court in 2010 and this decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal in 2012.

Giving judgement, Lady Hale said that there was 'no evidence to show that significant detriment to others' had occurred as a result of the delay.

The landowner's rights had been 'severely curtailed', she added.

Speaking of the residents' use of the land, Lady Hale said: “It is a right they should never have had.”

Betterment has been granted planning permission to build homes and offices on the land, also known as Curtis Fields, following a planning inquiry held in November.

The plans do not include the area campaigners wanted registered as a Town Green and Betterment chairman Mervyn Stewkesbury has told residents they will still be able to use the land 'until it is required for other purposes'.

He said after the case: “We are highly delighted that after ten years justice has finally been done.

“This land was wrongfully taken from the owners during 2001, but as far as we are concerned there have also been two instances of grave injustice to this company.”

Betterment have been left £1million out of pocket over the course of the three court cases, Mr Stewesbury added.

A protected costs order was placed on the case and campaigners will now have to pay £15,000 to the landowners.

Mr Stewesbury said to the campaigners: “Please do not look upon it that you have lost your Village Green. Think to yourselves you have had the use of the land for more than ten years when you should not have done.”

Mrs Taylor thanked everyone who has donated money to the campaign and the legal team, who worked on a pro bono and no win no fee basis.

She said: “We are obviously disappointed but we are also realistic and you always go into these things not knowing if you will win or lose.

“We've been told there are no grounds on which to appeal so this really is the end of the road.

“We are hoping we can work with Betterment on any open spaces the public may have access to in the future.”

Mrs Taylor added: “If we had not stood up and challenged the application to deregister the Town Green, people's rights would have been lost without any fight.

“It was certainly a battle worth fighting.”

 

Ruling will be 'green light' for developers


ALASTAIR Wallace, of Public Law Solicitors, who fought the case on behalf of the campaigners, said the ruling would be a 'green light' for developers to challenge Town Green statuses.

As Betterment was not the landowner when the area was granted the status, the outcome could encourage speculative purchases of high value land which is currently protected under Town Green legislation, he added.

Mr Wallace said: “In the end it was public versus private and private has won.

“The campaigners have fought tenaciously and they put up a heroic struggle to keep the land in the public domain.”

Comments (9)

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2:58pm Wed 5 Feb 14

bollywood says...

Hurrah!. I think that Mrs Taylor's comment on working with Betterments in the future smacks of arrogance. I used to walk through Cockles Lane and Curtis Fields quite a lot but stopped doing so because of the stench of dog urine etc.. I look forward to the development of the land.
Hurrah!. I think that Mrs Taylor's comment on working with Betterments in the future smacks of arrogance. I used to walk through Cockles Lane and Curtis Fields quite a lot but stopped doing so because of the stench of dog urine etc.. I look forward to the development of the land. bollywood

4:20pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Schrodinger's Cat says...

I think you're being a bit harsh. Given the number of her fellow Liberal Democrat councillors who have been in court in the last few years, you'd think she might want to keep away. I think it's quite brave of her to go to one as well. Or maybe she was feeling a little left out?
I think you're being a bit harsh. Given the number of her fellow Liberal Democrat councillors who have been in court in the last few years, you'd think she might want to keep away. I think it's quite brave of her to go to one as well. Or maybe she was feeling a little left out? Schrodinger's Cat

4:24pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Harpya Orkinus says...

So - "The Great Slime" (my label for Big, Bad Business - who, despite David CaMORON's Big Lie in 2013: "We should not regard business as the enemy of the environment," or words to that effect, ARE the prime movers in the destruction of all that is good, worthwhile and spiritually-upliftin
g on OUR planet.) win yet again in the age-old battle between Big Money - the Tory-tories - on the one hand and the yeomanry - Socialista-tories - and Nature on the other. So, more houses = more traffic = more holdups and more pedestrians and cyclists killed by car-drivers in a desperate hurry to get from A to B. It also means more dogs, of course, and more drunken LIMPS (Low Intellect Male Persons) causing a nuisance on their way back home from town at night, by dropping litter, talking in loud voices as they walk past in the small hours, and interfering with other people's transportation. Progress, 2014 !!
So - "The Great Slime" (my label for Big, Bad Business - who, despite David CaMORON's Big Lie in 2013: "We should not regard business as the enemy of the environment," or words to that effect, ARE the prime movers in the destruction of all that is good, worthwhile and spiritually-upliftin g on OUR planet.) win yet again in the age-old battle between Big Money - the Tory-tories - on the one hand and the yeomanry - Socialista-tories - and Nature on the other. So, more houses = more traffic = more holdups and more pedestrians and cyclists killed by car-drivers in a desperate hurry to get from A to B. It also means more dogs, of course, and more drunken LIMPS (Low Intellect Male Persons) causing a nuisance on their way back home from town at night, by dropping litter, talking in loud voices as they walk past in the small hours, and interfering with other people's transportation. Progress, 2014 !! Harpya Orkinus

8:24pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Caption Sensible says...

Harpya Orkinus wrote:
So - "The Great Slime" (my label for Big, Bad Business - who, despite David CaMORON's Big Lie in 2013: "We should not regard business as the enemy of the environment," or words to that effect, ARE the prime movers in the destruction of all that is good, worthwhile and spiritually-upliftin

g on OUR planet.) win yet again in the age-old battle between Big Money - the Tory-tories - on the one hand and the yeomanry - Socialista-tories - and Nature on the other. So, more houses = more traffic = more holdups and more pedestrians and cyclists killed by car-drivers in a desperate hurry to get from A to B. It also means more dogs, of course, and more drunken LIMPS (Low Intellect Male Persons) causing a nuisance on their way back home from town at night, by dropping litter, talking in loud voices as they walk past in the small hours, and interfering with other people's transportation. Progress, 2014 !!
You really do hate humanity don't you.

I feel sorry for you and your extremely negative outlook to life.
[quote][p][bold]Harpya Orkinus[/bold] wrote: So - "The Great Slime" (my label for Big, Bad Business - who, despite David CaMORON's Big Lie in 2013: "We should not regard business as the enemy of the environment," or words to that effect, ARE the prime movers in the destruction of all that is good, worthwhile and spiritually-upliftin g on OUR planet.) win yet again in the age-old battle between Big Money - the Tory-tories - on the one hand and the yeomanry - Socialista-tories - and Nature on the other. So, more houses = more traffic = more holdups and more pedestrians and cyclists killed by car-drivers in a desperate hurry to get from A to B. It also means more dogs, of course, and more drunken LIMPS (Low Intellect Male Persons) causing a nuisance on their way back home from town at night, by dropping litter, talking in loud voices as they walk past in the small hours, and interfering with other people's transportation. Progress, 2014 !![/p][/quote]You really do hate humanity don't you. I feel sorry for you and your extremely negative outlook to life. Caption Sensible

9:55pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Harpya Orkinus says...

Since about 98% of change seems to be always for the worse, I think a negative outlook is completely understandable. Bit like the Tory-tories (employers) really, I suppose - always bellyaching about unemployment levels, then when someone attends an interview for a job, they try to find every reason under the sun not to give them one. At the same time, they're outsourcing their manufacturing requirements to the unspeakables in the far east, whilst Herr CaMORON, in typical modern British fashion, puts the brutal fiscal jackboot into the country's population of unemployed wage-slaves for not having a job, when he has just returned from unashamedly thrusting his nose up the jacksies of those same unspeakables who have stolen work from this country !! Yes, I rather fancy there's a lot of negativity about, right now !!
Since about 98% of change seems to be always for the worse, I think a negative outlook is completely understandable. Bit like the Tory-tories (employers) really, I suppose - always bellyaching about unemployment levels, then when someone attends an interview for a job, they try to find every reason under the sun not to give them one. At the same time, they're outsourcing their manufacturing requirements to the unspeakables in the far east, whilst Herr CaMORON, in typical modern British fashion, puts the brutal fiscal jackboot into the country's population of unemployed wage-slaves for not having a job, when he has just returned from unashamedly thrusting his nose up the jacksies of those same unspeakables who have stolen work from this country !! Yes, I rather fancy there's a lot of negativity about, right now !! Harpya Orkinus

7:48pm Thu 6 Feb 14

JACKC says...

Oh what a surprise. Shame on you Stewkesbury! Public land STOLEN from the people!!!!! Same old story in this country (particularly in Weymouth) MONEY TALKS. All I would say to everyone who uses the land and has done for many many many years before it was STOLEN (bring back Scallywag) there are still PUBLIC FOOTPATHS through this area which I intend to use, and it is a total disgrace that a so called 'Lady' (silver spoon?) has the right to decide on something she knows nothing about. MONEY TALKS.
Oh what a surprise. Shame on you Stewkesbury! Public land STOLEN from the people!!!!! Same old story in this country (particularly in Weymouth) MONEY TALKS. All I would say to everyone who uses the land and has done for many many many years before it was STOLEN (bring back Scallywag) there are still PUBLIC FOOTPATHS through this area which I intend to use, and it is a total disgrace that a so called 'Lady' (silver spoon?) has the right to decide on something she knows nothing about. MONEY TALKS. JACKC

9:02pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Caption Sensible says...

JACKC wrote:
Oh what a surprise. Shame on you Stewkesbury! Public land STOLEN from the people!!!!! Same old story in this country (particularly in Weymouth) MONEY TALKS. All I would say to everyone who uses the land and has done for many many many years before it was STOLEN (bring back Scallywag) there are still PUBLIC FOOTPATHS through this area which I intend to use, and it is a total disgrace that a so called 'Lady' (silver spoon?) has the right to decide on something she knows nothing about. MONEY TALKS.
Stolen from who exactly?
[quote][p][bold]JACKC[/bold] wrote: Oh what a surprise. Shame on you Stewkesbury! Public land STOLEN from the people!!!!! Same old story in this country (particularly in Weymouth) MONEY TALKS. All I would say to everyone who uses the land and has done for many many many years before it was STOLEN (bring back Scallywag) there are still PUBLIC FOOTPATHS through this area which I intend to use, and it is a total disgrace that a so called 'Lady' (silver spoon?) has the right to decide on something she knows nothing about. MONEY TALKS.[/p][/quote]Stolen from who exactly? Caption Sensible

9:04pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Harpya Orkinus says...

Caption Sensible wrote:
JACKC wrote:
Oh what a surprise. Shame on you Stewkesbury! Public land STOLEN from the people!!!!! Same old story in this country (particularly in Weymouth) MONEY TALKS. All I would say to everyone who uses the land and has done for many many many years before it was STOLEN (bring back Scallywag) there are still PUBLIC FOOTPATHS through this area which I intend to use, and it is a total disgrace that a so called 'Lady' (silver spoon?) has the right to decide on something she knows nothing about. MONEY TALKS.
Stolen from who exactly?
The townsfolk, obviously !!!! And whatever Wildlife braves the mongrels, of course !! :D :D
[quote][p][bold]Caption Sensible[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JACKC[/bold] wrote: Oh what a surprise. Shame on you Stewkesbury! Public land STOLEN from the people!!!!! Same old story in this country (particularly in Weymouth) MONEY TALKS. All I would say to everyone who uses the land and has done for many many many years before it was STOLEN (bring back Scallywag) there are still PUBLIC FOOTPATHS through this area which I intend to use, and it is a total disgrace that a so called 'Lady' (silver spoon?) has the right to decide on something she knows nothing about. MONEY TALKS.[/p][/quote]Stolen from who exactly?[/p][/quote]The townsfolk, obviously !!!! And whatever Wildlife braves the mongrels, of course !! :D :D Harpya Orkinus

11:58am Fri 7 Feb 14

nuber says...

Harpya Orkinus wrote:
Caption Sensible wrote:
JACKC wrote: Oh what a surprise. Shame on you Stewkesbury! Public land STOLEN from the people!!!!! Same old story in this country (particularly in Weymouth) MONEY TALKS. All I would say to everyone who uses the land and has done for many many many years before it was STOLEN (bring back Scallywag) there are still PUBLIC FOOTPATHS through this area which I intend to use, and it is a total disgrace that a so called 'Lady' (silver spoon?) has the right to decide on something she knows nothing about. MONEY TALKS.
Stolen from who exactly?
The townsfolk, obviously !!!! And whatever Wildlife braves the mongrels, of course !! :D :D
The land wasn't stolen by Stewkesbury, it was the Society that was trying to steal! They wanted something for nothing!
[quote][p][bold]Harpya Orkinus[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Caption Sensible[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JACKC[/bold] wrote: Oh what a surprise. Shame on you Stewkesbury! Public land STOLEN from the people!!!!! Same old story in this country (particularly in Weymouth) MONEY TALKS. All I would say to everyone who uses the land and has done for many many many years before it was STOLEN (bring back Scallywag) there are still PUBLIC FOOTPATHS through this area which I intend to use, and it is a total disgrace that a so called 'Lady' (silver spoon?) has the right to decide on something she knows nothing about. MONEY TALKS.[/p][/quote]Stolen from who exactly?[/p][/quote]The townsfolk, obviously !!!! And whatever Wildlife braves the mongrels, of course !! :D :D[/p][/quote]The land wasn't stolen by Stewkesbury, it was the Society that was trying to steal! They wanted something for nothing! nuber

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