Saturday, 14 May 2011

Allotment Action Sparks Legal Wrangle!

The cultivation of land on Ashton Moss by members of Ashton Allotment Action, received publicity in the local press this week.

The Tameside Advertiser revealed that over 700 people are currently on Tameside Council`s allotment waiting list and almost half of these, want an allotment plot on Ashton Moss. According to the paper, the land is owned by Stayley Developments Ltd. Until recently, Tameside Council`s website was encouraging people to inquire about obtaining an allotment plot on Ashton Moss, but this has now been removed from the site.

A spokesman for Tameside Council told the Advertiser:
"The council is aware of the desire for allotments in Ashton and the development plan for Ashton Moss provides for the provision of allotments. The development is yet to be completed and the land remains in private ownership."
When contacted by the Advertiser, the local estate agent Cordingleys, who act on behalf on behalf of Stayley Development Ltd, said:
"The site owner has been in continued negotiations with Tameside Council. At present a conclusion has not been reached regarding the deliverability of the allotments. Stayley are legally not at liberty to offer any of the site for allotment use as contractual terms restrict their control. We are hopeful that a positive conclusion will be forthcoming in the short term."
As they say, the plot thickens. But what does seem strange, is that while the council`s own development plan for Ashton Moss provides for the provision of allotment plots, the owners, Stayley Developments, say they are "not at liberty to offer any of the site for allotment use as contractual terms restrict their control." If this is the case, then what are these continued negotiations with Tameside Council about? Moreover, who are Stayley Developments Ltd?

The company report for Stayley Developments Ltd, says that the primary trading address for the company is the estates office, Enville Hall (pictured above), Enville, Nr Stourbridge, West Midlands. Enville and Stalybridge Estates form part of the ancestral estates of the Earls of Stamford and Warrington. Enville Hall is set in 6,500 acres and according to the estates websites is "ideally suited for game shooting - we are happy to organise game shooting parties on request."

In 1976, the 10th Earl of Stamford and Warrington, Roger Grey, died. The three esates - Leicestershire, Staffordshire and Cheshire - were divided between three relatives. The Leicestershire estate is now a country park. Dunham Massey is owned by the National Trust and Enville Hall remains a private family house.

There are currently four Directors of Stayley Developments Ltd:

Mr. M.J. Scott-Bolton, who is a 'land agent' and resides at Leigh House, Stourbridge, West Midlands.

Mr. P.B. Williams, who is a solicitor and resides at Enville Hall, Enville, Stourbridge, West Midlands.

Ms. A. D. Williams, who is a landowner, and resides at Enville Hall, Enville, Stourbridge, West Midlands,

Ms. E.J. Bowen, who is a company secretary and resides at 2 Hall Drive, Enville, Stourbridge, West Midlands.

According to the company report, the main activities of the company are - "The dealing in, and development and exploitation of land, forestry and logging." Ashton Moss Developments Ltd, is a subsidiary company.

Despite all the bull-shit nowadays about Britain being a stakeholder society, the ownership of land in this country is still very much concentrated in the hands of a very few. A report by Country Life Magazine in November 2010, revealed that more than a third of Britain`s land is still in the hands of a tiny group of aristocrats. According to the report, a group of 36,000 inviduals (only 0.6% of the population), own 50% of our rural land.

For further enquiries contact the estates office at Enville Hall on 01384 872635.

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