Lots to tell you this week.
Certificate Of Lawfulness
Good news indeed! We are delighted to report that on the 18th February, the application for a Certificate of Lawfulness was refused. This Certificate had been applied for by Acres Developments on 20th December 2012, seeking to confirm that the property was now an estate agency and that this change of use was lawful. West Berkshire Council produced a very detailed report of their decision, based on the objection letters received and their own site research.
Their report can be viewed at www.westberks.gov.uk, planning application ref: 12/03074/CERTE, under the delegated report section. Alternatively, if you contact us through the www.savethetally.org.uk website, we can email you a copy.
Among the findings by the Council, they outlined that:
- In all but one site visit by the Council, the building was locked and unoccupied, with no display boards showing properties for sale or let, typical of an estate agency.
- The estate agency was not registered with either of the professional bodies for estate and letting agents.
- Nor were they listed on any of the national property websites such as Right Move or Prime Location.
- The Council called the advertised phone number a number of times and each time the call was answered by a person based in Poole.
- The property appeared to remain as an unoccupied and closed public house.
The report concluded that:
“Evidence obtained by the Local Planning Authority supports the finding above that there is no estate agency business operating from the Property in accordance with Class A2 of the Use Classes of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended)”.
This makes a third success for Save the Tally campaign:
- Withdrawal by the developers of their application for residential development in the face of massive protest.
- Addition of The Tally Ho to the register of Community Assets, giving us a six month window to field a bid in the event of a sale by the developer.
- And now, refusal by West Berkshire Council of the Certificate Of Lawfulness.
And we have more to come.
Some of you may have seen Director of Hungerford Estate Agents, Nikita Mitson quoted in the Newbury Weekly News a couple of weeks ago as saying that she had no prior connection to Acres Developments and said “I heard about the premises through business connections”. She certainly did! Her father is Paul Mitson, Managing Director of Acres Developments.
We are interested to see that Jacqueline Mitson, Paul Mitson’s wife is listed as the Director of Milton Estate Agents. Milton Estate Agents are located in Milton Under Wychwood in the premises known to most of us as The Quart Pot pub. The Quart Pot is another acquisition of Acres Developments, also with a failed residential planning application.
- The circular
We note that Hungerford Estate Agents website now shows their first property is on the books. They’ve also taken on their first staff member. Co-incidentally, a recent search on her name showed someone of exactly the same name living at the address of the property they now have on their website!
It’s clear that Acres Developments still underestimate the strength of feeling in Hungerford Newtown. They recently sent a circular around, warmly welcoming villagers to their new business, offering to buy local properties!
Finally, some of you may have seen the report last week by the BBC’s Inside Out team highlighting communities and their fight to save their local pubs in the South. Two of the three cases featured have won their fight and won back their pubs which are now proving to be successful ventures.
We remain hopeful that we will soon be able to resume a meaningful dialogue with Acres Developments and come to an agreement which will satisfy both parties.
The Tally Ho Community Pub company is now properly established and already in a position to make an offer should the opportunity arise. The board has decided to invite further capital and contributions in a second round of funding in the coming weeks and we will keep you posted on that opportunity. If you’d like to know more meanwhile, please contact us via the website.