Residents of Clay Close Lane were shocked to find heavy machinery filling in drainage ditches and levelling adjacent open ground at breakneck speed on Monday morning. Given what has happened elsewhere, there were real concerns that travellers may have been about to take over the site. Since then, a road network and plots have been marked out - and a "For Sale" sign erected - so what is happening?
This area was one of four plots sold by Cadbury Schweppes earlier in the year, having decided to dispose of the remaining areas of land that they held in the village after buying out the factory from Chivers in the 1960s. It is in the Green Belt, does not have planning permission for any development, nor does permission exist for any of the works undertaken to date.
The plot, as marketed by Bidwells, looks like this (the area in red being the plot. The area in green is the Green Belt):
The land was bought by property speculators, who put the management and sale of the site in the hands of PropertySpy. PropertySpy handle a number of similar plots around the country - all in the Green Belt, and all without planning permission - similar to the status of the Clay Close Lane land.
PropertySpy have partitioned the site up, and are offering the individual plots for sale. Typically plots on their sites are bought in 1's or 2's by individuals who hope to make significant gains if planning permission is ever granted for the site. Their plan (copied from their web site for ease of reference - though you should refer to that to see the up to date status on sales etc) is:
Note that this plan is just about half of the site. PropertySpy has published more details of the site and its location.
PropertySpy are clear that they do not, nor do they intend to, sell to travellers. They have stated that, whilst travellers have approached them in the past, they have not sold to them, and the plot sizes are unattractive (because they are too small) and do not meet the need of the traveller community.
County, District and Parish Councillors have been involved in responding to the concerns and issues arising from these works. District Officers attended on Monday morning, spoke to workmen, and may be taking action to have essential remedial works undertaken, including restoration of drainage. All nearby residents are being kept up to date with news as it becomes available.
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November 2005 - there's a web site been set up specifically to inform people about deals of this nature - www.propertyscam.org.uk
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