Thursday, 27 November 2008

Background to the bodge.

During the late 80's the council gave a developer planning permission for a new development of houses adjacent to my property. Unfortunately they allowed the developer to build up the level of the development in the vicinity of my property by some 2 feet and move the planned road closer to my property than that shown on the approved plan. I offered to sell the developer the extra land necessary for them to complete the highway to safe and adoptable standards but they refused.

I brought the problem to the attention of the council and the highway authority on numerous occasions during the early 90s. They failed to take any enforcement action and allowed the developer to carry on building and selling houses. During 1992 they signed a section 38 road adoption agreement with the developer in the full knowledge that the highway was being constructed in the wrong position and that the developer didn't own the land necessary to complete the works to the planned and now insured/bonded standards. Although the developer was in further breach of the adoption agreement in 1994 the council continued to allow the developer to complete phase 2 of the development, this time without a road adoption agreement at all.

During 2004 some 7 years after they had sold all the properties on both phases the company was dissolved leaving two unfinished roads and no play area or open space. During 1997 I was approached by the council and told I would have to accept the highway impacting on my land. I offered to sell them the necessary land to complete the works to safe and adoptable standards but they refused. During 2001 the Council triggered the Section 38 Agreement insurance bond in an attempt to complete the works. On this occasion they produced a cobbled together hybrid plan. Part step at the boundary of my property part ramp on my property and part bodging of the roadway. Essentially the worse possible scenario. I again offered to sell them the land on which to complete the works to safe and normal standard but the refused. Their solicitor stating that they wanted a zero cost solution. I partially self abated the works to protect my property, legal and human rights and intend to do so again if necessary.

During November 2008, rather than amicably resolve the problem so they could complete the highway to safe and adoptable standards the council chose to further bodge the highway, particularly the footway adjacent to my property.

Summary: Between 1990 and 2004 neither the Planning Authority nor the Highway Authority took any enforcement action against the Developer. So the highway is bodged in the vicinity of my property because they allowed a developer to build and sell houses without taking any prudent action to protect their interests. To overcome their self created difficulties they decided to bodge the road and risk pedestrian's lives rather than face up to the consequences of their imprudent action and buy the necessary land so the highway can be completed to inherently safe standards.

The photo below shows the position after the council's aborted attempt to complete the highway during 2001. The red line shows the original planned and approved extremity of the highway. (The back edge of the planned footway before the developer moved the whole highway closer to my property. My boundary is also shown on the original plans abutting the edge of the footway. The two fence posts accurately mark the position of my boundary and the edge of the footway as originally planned and approved. This boundary was agreed with the Developer in 1990 and up until 2004 when the Company was finally dissolved they had never made any attempt to dispute it. I think the reason why they didn't buy the extra land, necessary to complete the road in the wrong position, was because they knew they could sell all the houses on the development and walk away from the problem before the council took any kind of enforcement action.

The photo below was taken just after the council marked out their latest bodge on the ground prior to work commencing. Essentially, instead of buying the land and completing the highway to safe and normal adoptable standards, they decided to save money and skirt around the problem by bodging the highway instead.

The photo below shows the footway sloping and twisting to overcome the problem of completing the works without buying any land. You can also see the lack of super-elevation on the outside of the bend on this photo.

Similar to above but at the opposite side to the vehicular crossing. Again you can also see the lack of super-elevation on the outside of the bend.

The photo below shows the finished bodge. The yellow lines help to highlight the level change whilst the yellow arrows help to highlight the directions of the twists and slopes. When you take into account this is a Class 3 A Local Distributor road (That's only one step below a national classified road), their bodge is on the outside of a bend that has not been properly super elevated and the dropped kerb is wider than the road itself it's clearly a bodge too far. To put the dropped kerb into perspective I calculated that it's actually wider than a 3 lane motorway.

Note that the work they recently carried out ends at the boundary shown on the original approved plan. That's proves that up until they carried out the works 20th to 25th November 2008 Cheshire County Council also accepted the boundary agreed between us and and the Developer during 1990.

The ironic twist in the tail: The council has clearly ended up with a bodged and unsafe highway. Just compare the two photos above. To achieve this they wasted 11 years, hundreds of man hours and spent more money over the years than it would have cost to amicably resolve the problem and complete the works in 1997 to the original approved and normal highway standards. Just a shame they resorted to legalistic threats instead of trying to resolve their problem amicably in 1997, again in 2001 and again in 2008! One day they may realise that legalistic threats, intimidation and bullying are not necessary the most cost effective ways to resolve their problems. Or maybe not! They have proven they are daft enough to try anything.

Still that's public authorities for you. At the end of the day it's not their own money they are wasting so why should they worry? Haringey Council recently spent over £8,000 on legal advice trying to save £250 so the tactic of wasting tax payer's money is clearly not unique to Cheshire County Council. In addition, if they had permitted the developer to reduce the standards of the planned highway in 1994 to those they have recently implemented, the highway could have been adopted 14 years ago.

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