Friends of Putney Common (FoPC) to take legal action against the Conservators

After Conservators reject call to withdraw call to reconsider road access easements

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Solicitors acting for (FoPC), the community group formed by residents to prevent the inapproriate development at Putney Hospital, have received a letter from Gregsons, the solicitors acting for the (WPCC), rejecting FoPC’s call to withdraw from the easement agreements which will allow road building on Putney Common adjacent to Putney Hospital.

The letter from Gregsons is dated 24th of January and can be viewed and downloaded on the FoPC website.

They acknowledge the exchange of legal opinions and say “Neither party has very much more to usefully add at this stage. As and when the London Borough of Wandsworth obtain a suitable planning permission in respect of the proposed development of the Putney Hospital site, then the Conservators
will give to your clients proper notice prior to their completing any Deed of Easement in respect of that development.”

A spkesman for FoPC said today:
“It is surprising that the Conservators wish to take this matter to the High Court as we have very clearly demonstrated that they are acting beyond the powers set out in the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Act 1871. They had an opportunity to settle this without great cost, and it is to their shame that they
have decided not to act responsibly. As Trustees of a national charity set up by Act of Parliament which depends on a levy paid by 67,000 local residents they are acting beyond their powers by granting rights to the Council to use common land to allow access to the proposed school and luxury flats.”

  • FoPC will now move forward to mount a legal challenge in the courts, the first stage of which is likely to be a ‘Pre-action Protocol Letter’
  • Lawyers acting for the group believe that the issues are of considerable public importance as demonstrated by the objections to the Council’s plans from over 600 residents, many of whom specifically cited opposition to building roads on the common and the unlawful actions of the Conservators.
  • In their letter Gregsons claims that FoPC’s actions are “simply a device by which they propose to endeavour to block the building of a primary school which they consider will generate a degree of traffic in close proximity to their properties”. This statement indicates that neither the
    Conservators nor their solicitors Gregsons have taken on board the points made. The WPCC cannnot sell the access over the common, nor allow Wandsworth or a housing developer to constuct tarmacked roads, roundabouts, install electronic traffic control barriers, permanant footpath, security lighting, ditches and bollards to facilitate the development of the school and luxury flats. The Conservators simply do not have the legal power to do so.
  • It is also a matter of concern that the Consevators felt it appropriate to sell the access required
    for the school to Wandworth for a token £1.00, rather than the open market value of the
    ransom strip. The Conservators have a duty to the levy payers in this regard, which they have
    evidently forgotton or chosen to ignore. FoPC intend to raise this further breach of the Trustees
    responsibilities with the Charity Commission, who are responsible for regulating the
    administration of UK registered charities.

Friends of Putney Common (FoPC)

January 31, 2013