COMMENT: Westwell of Ely

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell,

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell, - Credit: Archant

Developers have had to weather regular accusations of dishonesty and injustice. I have always thought this is because people are jealous of the wealth these developers accrue. That is, until now. While I acknowledge that not every developer is dishonest, I can hardly believe what I have discovered recently.

A developer, long since disappeared in the mist of time, must have deliberately changed the facts shown on the deeds of an adjoining property to their development. According to the Land Registry, no changes ‘can be made without something like a court order or compulsory purchase order or if there are covenants or easements to that affect, the ownership and responsibilities of a property owner will not change without their agreement.’ In this case, any normal searches would have shown clearly who was responsible for the adjoining fences and it wasn’t the landowner, it was the developer and the new tenants. Yet this audacious developer drew up plans that changed this entirely to suit his own purposes without reference to anybody.

One would think any planning department worth its salt at the time would have picked this up – but no. It’s rather worrying for what else have developers have been getting away with, without any check by those who are supposed to act on our behalf?

If you are about to have a development next door you should order your copy of your neighbours’ deeds, check the contents and make sure they are adhered to yourself!

When will our authorities stop just keeping an eye on things? When will they actually act – even prosecute? Awash with money, as these developers usually are, giving them a fine achieves nothing. Ceasing the company from functioning may be a start. Even then, rumour has it the same companies just start up again under a different name – but this is still no excuse for turning a blind eye!


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Injustices are also apparent where fly-tipping occurs. When a landowner finds some selfish person has dumped a pile of rubbish on their land, our councils deem it’s the responsibility of the landowner to pay for removing it. Some landowners have even been fined for not doing so. Where’s the fair play in this?

In case the councils hadn’t noticed, it WASN’T the landowner who dumped the stuff. Councils should find out who did the dumping and prosecute them instead.

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Even the paths in our city are cluttered with stuff that shouldn’t be there. I’d heard the council was going to do something about it in January this year. It hasn’t done a very good job so far, has it? Maybe it plans to just keep an eye on things and hope they will go away too.

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