Thursday, 24 June 2010

Beechfields: Another update

Further to my previous posts on the subject I have just identified another intriguing piece of evidence.

In response to a planning application on Beechfields the Highway Authority stated in writing on the 16th March 2009

"...Beechfields is currently unadopted but a section 228 (HA1980) Notice has been recently issued that will ensure that it becomes adopted highway in the near future...."

If that was true then why did it take until March 2010, nearly a year to place the section 228 notices they had issued prior to the 16th March 2009 at the entrance to Beechfields?

Yet in response to a Freedom of Information request regarding the adoption of Beechfields, Steve Robinson the Chief Executive of Cheshire West and Cheshire stated in July 2009 'It is not considered that there is any additional information to provide to you which is not already in your possession.'  However, he never mentioned that they had already issued a section 228 notice on Beechfields and I wasn't aware that they had. Nor did he tell me that it only takes about 10 hours of an officers time to complete the adoption of a road under a section 228 notice.

So why did Steve Robinson breach the FOI Act by not supplying information pertinent to my request, why was nothing done for over a year after they issued the section 228 notice and why has nothing happened subsequent to the expiry of the 30 day notice period?

Note: As of today Beechfields is still shown as unadopted in the Council on-line adopted road gazetteer. 9 years since the roads in question where completed to adoptable standards by the Council even though they have admitted it should only take about 10 hours to adopt after that point. Now that's what I call incompetence (or possibly something even worse?)!

I think another Freedom of Information request may be necessary in order to get to the truth.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The Audit Commission and the Information Commissioner

The Audit Commission visited this micro-local blog about bodged roads and Cheshire West and Chester Council today, the day after the Information Commissioner informed me that my FOI complaint (FS50285682) against Cheshire West and Chester Council had reached the decision notice stage.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Beechfields: An update

On the 13th October 2009 I submitted the following Freedom of Information request.

"1) I would like a copy of the procedure/documentation necessary for Cheshire West and Chester Council to adopt a road that has no section 38 adoption agreement attached to it but has been completed to adoptable standards.

2) I would also like to know the cost of adopting such a road in such a manner."

The following is the response I received to my Freedom of Information request about the time it would take to adopt a road, such as those on Beechfield, together with the associated costs. My emphasis

"The costs of adopting such a road in such a manner in an uncontested case would usually be modest and would arise from the officer time involved in the following elements:-

. Assessing from an engineering point of view that the works were to adoptable standard.

. Surveying/measuring the area for adoption and preparing a plan and description.

. Preparing a site notice and erecting a site notice on site and subsequently removing it together with related correspondence.

. Adding the site to the statutory list of streets and the internet gazetteer of maintainable streets.

In a straightforward case, such a procedure could be completed in an estimated total of, say, 10 hours by all officers involved but would be undertaken as and when other priorities permit."

Around the end of February, beginning of March 2010, Cheshire West and Chester Council put up the 30 day statutory notices under section 228 of the Highway Act on the Beechfields development.

Section 228: Adoption of private street after execution of street works

(1) When any street works have been executed in a private street, the street works authority may, by notice displayed in a prominent position in the street, declare the street to be a highway which for the purposes of this Act is a highway maintainable at the public expense, and on the expiration of one month from the day on which the notice was first so displayed the street shall, subject to subsections (2) to (4) below, become such a highway.

Vale Royal Borough Council executed the works during 2001 and the highways to the West were adopted by them during 2005, however, they did not, as they should have done, adopt Beechfields and the associated roads at that time.

Even now some 4 months after putting up the statutory notice the roads are still shown as unadopted in the adopted road gazetteer.

Read again the process above for adopting roads similar to those on Beechfields and ask yourself what are Cheshire West and Chester Council hiding? Particularly when you also take into account that the so called public open space and play area adjacent to Beechfields are still in the hands of a developer. Please refer to the previous post.

Private Contractor still maintaining part of the Rookery Rise development

I noticed recently that a private contractor is still cutting grass on the play area, open space and highway verges which form part of the Linwood, Firtree part of the Rookery Rise development. Nearly 10 years after they were completed to adoptable standards and 5 years after the highways were supposedly adopted, why is a private contractor and not the council maintaining these parts of the development?

One of the planning obligations was that the developer would provide a public open space and a play area which would be handed over to the council, together with a sum of money! Thus enabling the construction and sale of all the dwellings on Pinetree, Firtree and Linwood. All those dwellings were sold by the developer over  9 years ago yet the public open space and play area are still in the hands of the developer. WHY?