Forum Topic

What are the Conservators playing at?

Many of the 45,000 households who pay the WPCC levy for the upkeep and conservation of the Commons live in Wimbledon. Quite a few of them do not - they are nearer to Putney Common or are in Putney Parish.But I'm sure we can all agree wherever we live that the body of Trustees set up originally by an Act of Parliament in 1871 have done a pretty good job of looking after this important open space. So why have I, and a local community group called 'Friends of Putney Common' (www.friendsofputneycommon.org) resorted to applying to the High Court for a judicial review of the Conservators recent actions to sell rights to Wandsworth Borough Council allowing them to build roads and paths on Putney Common? Because we believe this is in direct contravention to the 1871 Act and is clearly unlawful.Some key questions which might prompt you to look further into this unfortunate situation are given below. Full details can be seen on the website I mentioned above.1) The Conservators knew when they signed an agreement in July 2010 to build roads on Putney Common to facilitate a new health clinic on the old Putney Hospital site, that the plans for the clinic had already been cancelled by the WPHT board in September 2009. Why did they go ahead anyway? Were they in cahoots with the Council?2) They may claim that they would be "reclaiming" land from the Hospital for the Common. But this was land already designated in the 1871 Act as Common. They didn't need to take this action to reclaim it. Was it just the £250,000 "access fee" that tempted them?3) When the Council announced that it would buy the site and build flats and a huge primary school for 420 pupils, did they ask local residents for their views? They did not. They went ahead and signed another agreement, this time with an "access fee" of £350,000. All done in secret.4) When they were sent two legal opinions by Barristers briefed by Friends of Putney Common showing that their actions were "ultra vires" (beyond their statutory powers) why did they still push ahead?5) Why are they fighting to hold on to their promised money and not protecting our common?6) Why does this also matter to residents of Wimbledon who do not live near Putney Common? Because the Conservators claim that they can grant "easements" to build roads not necessary to protect the common, to facilitate development. In clear contravention of the 1871 Act. Next time they act in this high-handed and secret manner, it may well be a chunk of Wimbledon Common in their sights, and not just Putney Common.NickWebsite: www.friendsofputneycommon.orgTwitter @FofPCEmail: info@friendsofputneycommon.org

Nicholas Evans ● 3142d0 Comments