PETER MOULDER v DOVER DISTRICT COUNCIL
PETER MOULDER'S 23 year fight for justice against Dover District Council who
This is a factual account of my ongoing dispute with Dover District Council. It started in 1984 when I bought my bungalow and it still continues today, almost a quarter of a century later.
I purchased my home in the normal way, employing the services of a local estate agent and a solicitor who carried out all the usual searches and enquiries.
The manner in which DDC operates its planning decision-making should be of concern to everyone because what should be a democratic process is failing because the paid staff dictate. Committee Members are not questioning the edited planning reports of Council officers, but are merely rubber-stamping their recommendations, thus leaving the process open to abuse. Since 1984 successive Committees have made perverse decisions about my case, without being in possession of all the facts. Decisions have been made based on false and misleading information presented by the planning department, leading to serial acts of maladministration.
The arrogance and indifference shown by committee members during this time is inexcusable. Over the years I have written to all members of successive Planning Committees, yet not one Councillor has ever had the courtesy to reply. The Council has disregarded every attempt by me to resolve this dispute by negotiation, preferring to waste huge amounts of taxpayer’s money in pursuit of their vendetta against me. The Council’s Chief Executive, Nadeem Aziz, who seems to have no concept of natural justice, refuses to meet me and ignores correspondence, while at the same time, incorrect and misleading statements are released to the press.
Hopefully my website will enlighten people as to the unsavoury tactics used by district council officials. It appears that council corruption may be widespread in this country and consequently the number of websites exposing maladministration and injustice is increasing.
Deception can occur at committee level when an applicant applies for planning permission or when the council pursues wrongful enforcement action against a lawful development. However, most corruption begins at officer level and, worryingly, this law breaking is protected in England as there is no statutory requirement for the Police to take action and therefore officers of the council are immune from prosecution.
Before any planning application reaches committee level, it is first dealt with by the planning department and it is here that the planning officer can begin his or her vendetta against the applicant by carefully perverting the application and manipulating evidence. This has undoubtedly occurred in my case.
Consequently, having experienced a serious injustice from Dover District Council I am developing this website to tell my side of the story. Further on I explain about the complaint I made against the Council, which led to their own senior Professional Standards Investigator finding them guilty of maladministration with injustice on a number of counts.
I had considered approaching the Local Government Ombudsman but statistics show that 98.4% of complainants find it a complete waste of time because of pro-council bias. Two websites dedicated to exposing Local Government maladministration can be found at the foot of this page. The whole scenario reeks of a cover up.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
I planned to start a new life with my wife and two children when in 1984 we purchased a property called ‘The Bungalow’ in Warren Lane, Nr Lydden, Dover. The timber-framed bungalow, which had two bedrooms, lounge, kitchen and bathroom was an existing dwelling in lawful residential use. It had been neglected for some years and was in need of some TLC so upon moving in on the 15th June I began renovating it and making cosmetic changes. The existing timber frame was retained and repaired, the walls re-clad, new windows fitted and it was re-roofed. No extensions were added thus the size of the original footprint remained the same.
a few weeks of purchasing the bungalow Dover District Council falsely
stated that I had 'erected a new dwelling' and ordered me to demolish it.
notice was wrongfully issued and we lived under the threat of demolition
for five years, until 1989 when the Council came along one morning with a
mechanical digger and smashed my bungalow to pieces. Following this the
Council had the
audacity to state that they were not obliged to provide accommodation for
us because we had 'made ourselves homeless'.
council served the wrong notice because the breach they allege I committed
did not occur. The Town & Country Planning Act states that an
enforcement notice shall specify that steps be taken to restore the land
to its condition before the breach took place. In other words, put the
bungalow back to as it was before I carried out the cosmetic changes.
unlawful demolition of my bungalow took place because the planning
department presented inaccurate and misleading advice to the Planning
Committee including the claim that the residential use had been abandoned.
In R. v Canterbury City Council ex parte Springimage JPL
The original decision to demolish my home was wrong and therefore it follows that every action taken against me by the council must be wrong. A public authority owes as great, if not a greater obligation, to comply with the law as any individual and I have sufficient evidence to show the Council acted unlawfully not only in demolishing my home in the first instance but also in all acts of enforcement action that have followed. There is case law to support this assertion, as does the Town & Country Planning Act, which is very clear and precise on this matter.
Every person is entitled to procedural fairness, but that will always depend on the integrity of the authority responsible for such procedures.
Lord Justice Muskill, Greater London Council (1985) identified four ways in which a decision might be procedurally improper, namely:
1. Unfair behaviour towards persons affected by the decision.
2. Failure to follow a procedure laid down by legislation.
3. Failure properly to marshall the evidence on which the decision should be based.
taking into account an immaterial factor or failing to take into account a material
factor or failing to
take reasonable steps to obtain the relevant information.
4. Failure to approach the decision in the right spirit, for example, where the decision
actuated by bias or where he is content to let the decision be made by
There is clear evidence that Dover Council have deprived me of my right to procedural fairness throughout the duration of this dispute but particularly so when they took the decision to demolish my home.
I did not establish a home without planning permission because that already lawfully existed and had done so for 56 years. Prior to the demolition I placed a mobile home adjacent to the bungalow so continuing, uninterrupted, the lawful residential use of the land.
the demolition the Council then erroneously served an enforcement
notice ordering the removal of my mobile home.
to the years of stress and extreme disruption to my family’s life
leading up to the demolition of our home and the ongoing harassment and
threat of litigation from the Council after the demolition, my family
broke up. After my wife left I gave up the fight and moved away from the
site in October 1992. Up until that time I had
neither the knowledge nor financial ability to fight the unlawful action
that had been taken against me and it is apparent the Council played on
my absence the site of my former home became a local rubbish tip and scrap
vehicles accumulated on the land. It became an eyesore, an annoyance to
local residents and the subject of further enforcement action, which
required me as owner of the site to clear it even though this situation
was a direct result of the council demolishing my home.
My property had been in continuous residential use for over 60 years when the Council demolished it and reduced my land to a rubbish tip. Tim Flisher from the Council's planning department has since confirmed that residential use is the only lawful use ever ascribed to my property.
15th July 2002 I moved back to the site and began clearing all
the scrap vehicles and the tons of rubbish that had accumulated, before
restoring it to an attractive garden once more. I have continued to live
there in a mobile home ever since with the full support of my neighbours
but not the Council who are again dubiously taking enforcement
action against me.
On 28 February 2005 I submitted a planning application following advice from Tim Flisher the Council's Development Control Manager but the dirty tricks..........more
became highly suspicious about the way in which the Council were dealing
with my planning application so withdrew it on the 22 July 2005 before it
Soon after this I obtained a copy of the report that the case officer, Nikki Coles, had prepared for the Planning Committee. I was astounded when I read it as the officer’s report contained incorrect statements, misleading information and was written in a biased way designed to ensure a refusal. At this point I decided to submit a complaint to the Professional.......more
In 2006 I wrote to Gwyn Prosser, New Labour MP for Dover, asking for his support but soon discovered that...........more
18 April 2007 Day of the hearing. Judge Parnell asked Lee May the Council solicitor why, when an independent Investigator had found maladministration with the way my application was processed the Council would not refund my planning fee. He was told that there is nothing in the legislation that provides for a refund. In other words, the Council can process a planning application as abysmally and corruptly as they like and even though found guilty of maladministration by their own investigation they are not required to refund the planning fee. Judge Parnell said that even though he accepted my claim was valid and he sympathised with my situation he was not able to order the Council to repay my wasted planning fee. It's a joke.
20 March 2007 The Court inform me that the hearing for my claim to be struck out will be held at Dover Magistrates Court County Court on the 18 April. I fear some 'funny handshakes' may be involved.
16 March 2007 The Council submit an application to the Court for my claim to be struck out.
8 March 2007 The Court sent me a 'Request for Judgement' form because the council had not replied to my claim by the deadline of 5 March. As advised by the Court I submitted the form requesting that the Court order the council to pay. The Court wrote back to me saying the council had now filed an 'Acknowledgement of Service' on 8 March. I would question why the Court gives a deadline by when the Defendant must respond and then allow them to be 3 days late. I'm not sure the private individual would be extended the same privilege and the Council have no excuse for being late considering they have their own in-house solicitors. The Court has now given the Council until the 17 March to file their defence.
5 March 2007 Deadline by when DDC must dispute my claim.
Friday 2 March 2007 I was invited to take part in the Jeremy Vine Programme on Radio 2 today which was about contentious planning issues. I only had about three minutes but had the opportunity to convey some relevant aspects of my case and the feedback has been favourable.
17 February 2007 Summons served on Dover District Council.
15 February 2007 Lodged my claim against the Council at Canterbury County Court.
6 December 2006 My second letter to Nadeem Aziz the Council's Chief Executive. Once more I requested a refund of my planning fee and informed him that if I did not receive a refund I would seek a judgement in the County Court. Once again Mr Aziz ignored my letter.
19 November 2006 I wrote to Nadeem Aziz the Council's Chief Executive politely requesting a refund of my planning application fee. Previously, I had withdrawn my planning application before it was determined because the Council had tampered with it. Subsequently the Council's Professional Standards Investigator found them guilty of maladministration in the way in which my application had been dealt with. I was therefore fully justified in receiving a refund. As usual, Mr Aziz ignored my letter.
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IF YOU HAVE ANY GOOD STORIES TO TELL WE'D LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU.
With thanks to Action Groups around the world for the supply of real case history and supporting documents.