Saturday, 8 August 2009

Why is Beechfields and part of Rookery Rise still unadopted?

I submitted a Freedom of Information request to find out why part of Rookery Rise including Beechfields remains unadopted.

'Beechfields has remained unadopted due to the intermediate sections of road linking it to the main adopted road network being subject to separate phased adoption agreements with the Authority. No Highway Authority will adopt a road in isolation from the main adopted network and the adoption of these lengths of street under separate phased road Agreements has therefore had to take place in a progressive sequential manner.

On a development the size of Rookery Rise the completion of the individual phases by the respective developer/s can take sometime to complete prior to the next phase being released for further development.

Usually, the speed of construction operations to finish off the individual phases is beyond the control of the Authority and is directly governed by economic conditions and/or the developer's own build programme.

In this instance the developer initially made normal progress with the construction of the first phase of Rookery Rise. However, some time ago it became apparent that the developer's progress on site had started to slow due to financial difficulties. This ultimately lead to the receiver being called in and, finally the developer company going into liquidation. Ultimately, as you are aware, the highway authority carried out the works to bring that part of Rookery Rise up to adoption standard.' [Full response] Note: Vale Royal Borough Council allowed the developer to complete phase two (Beechfields) without a road adoption agreement at all, even though the developer was in breach of the road adoption agreement for phase one (Greenfields).

This response totally ignores the fact that Barratt completed Rookery Rise to the west of Beechfields during 2001 and this was subsequently adopted by Cheshire County Council. Therefore, the question that remains unanswered is why was phase 2 not adopted from the west?

As a result I submitted a follow up question to my Freedom of Information request.

'Thank you for your response. In your response you essentially state that phase 2 couldn't be adopted until phase 1 was adopted because of the need to connect phase 2 to an adopted road before it could be adopted. Please provide a copy of any information documents that would explain why Phase 2 was not adopted in 2001 when at that time (or shortly afterwards) phase 2 was connected to the adopted western part of Rookery Rise.'

I am aware that the adoption of the Barratt part of Rookery Rise was delayed and wasn't adopted until early 2005, however, phase two has remained unadopted nearly 5 years longer than necessary. In addition the open space and play area on the Barratt part of the development are still unadopted.

There is something funny going on with this development and I intend to get to the bottom of it!

Here is an example of what I mean. I wanted to confirm the status of Rookery Rise between Firtree and Linwood but the adopted road gazetteer has the following disclaimer, 'It does not however constitute a definitive statement as to the status of any particular highway'. You can obtain a definitive statement if you are willing to pay so I decided to pay Cheshire County Council for a definitive statement as to the adoption status of the road in question. When I received the so called definitive statement it included the same disclaimer as the adopted road gazetteer. Effectively a none definitive definitive statement. Accordingly I ask Cheshire County Council to either supply the definitive statement I had paid for or return my money. They returned my money, which speaks volumes about the true status of the road in question and their ability to tell the truth.

And here's another example. The road on phase one was redesigned without planning approval but when I submitted a complaint to the planning enforcement officer (Vale Royal Borough Council) he stated that Cheshire County Council didn't need planning permission because the road in question was adopted. Why did they need to redesign the road? Because it was unadopted and they wanted to adopt it! Which they later did. Therefore, the planning enforcement officer had clearly lied to me when he stated the highway was adopted.

So Rookery Rise is adopted when the Council need it to be adopted and unadopted when they need it to be unadopted. Will Cheshire West and Chester Council (the unitary council replacing Vale Royal Brough Council and Cheshire County Council) keep on playing games? It certainly looks like it up to now!

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