Planning consent is the issue at Jenner’s Basin, which is the only area concerned with the rest of Thorpe Island not affected. Landowner Roger Wood believes permission was already in place through a covenant and existing rights when he bought the land.
This is a complicated case but the fact is that Mr Wood has taken it to two Secretary of State planning inspectors, an Appeal Court judge and a High Court judge who have all ruled that the covenant does not constitute the permission he needs and that there were no existing rights.
Nevertheless one planning inspector’s decision, upheld by the High Court judge, was to allow Mr Wood mooring for 25 boats, subject to Mr Wood giving information within three months about how certain conditions such as landscaping, access and parking provision, would be met. Mr Wood has appealed against this decision however and has said in planning committee that mooring for 25 boats would be insufficient for his business requirements.
We have utmost sympathy for Mr Wood's tenants in Jenners Basin who are caught in this dispute but as a planning authority are bound by law to uphold planning legislation and these rulings. Landowners and landlords are required to meet planning requirements as everyone else.
The situation has been wholly misrepresented, it is absolutely not an attempt to “gentrify” or “socially cleanse” an area and the accusation that the Broads Authority is developing the site is a fabrication with no basis in evidence whatsoever. If this was the case we would be going against our own planning policies that define the site as a conservation area.
We are not forcing anyone out now but telling them through letters before action as our legal obligation that we plan to apply for an injunction after the deadline because of the repeated refusals by Mr Wood to seek consent for his developments.
The Broads Authority does not have the power to issue eviction notices and the application for the injunction will take some weeks to go through the courts. Mr Wood has been aware of the decision to apply for an injunction since 21 August.
The allegations against Chairman Jacquie Burgess have been referred to the Monitoring Officer but to date we have not received the evidence from the complainant required to take this any further. We can categorically and unreservedly state that she did not describe the residents of Thorpe Island as ‘feral’.
Professor Burgess made a comment about the site having the appearance of a shanty town in respect of the physical aspects of the unlawful development in contrast to its conservation status, not in relation to its residents.
Lastly, while we support everyone’s right to make a complaint we are very disappointed by the personally abusive nature of the attacks against Professor Burgess on social media and through emails sent directly to her.
We were not aware until recently that Mr Wood was supplying electricity and water. We now know that the supply is through solar panels installed on a large container on the site. This container has been part of planning case since it started in 2011.
Despite giving two assurances over the years that he would remove the container and despite knowing it was part of the wider case Mr Wood recently installed the panels without making any alternative arrangements for the supply of electricity to his tenants.