I NELSON JAMES KRUSCHANDL  c/o The Old Steam House, Lime Park, Herstmonceux in East Sussex MAKE OATH and say as follows:-


1. I make this Affidavit in respect of the serious professional negligence of Officer(s) of my Local Planning Authority and subsequent procedural irregularity agreed by Committee, as a result of which I have been occasioned significant expense, loss, delay and anxiety and am now threatened with bankruptcy proceedings.


2. I am a design engineer.  I have worked from The Old Steam House since 1982.  I hold patents relating to electric vehicles and developed refuelling technology stemming from those patents on the premises.  I have long thought the premises held potential for conversion to a residential use and consequently secured an option to purchase, so as to pursue restoration.


3. On or about 4th September 1995 I was party to a planning application WD/95/2285/F designed to allow restoration of a building I knew supplied electricity to Herstmonceux village between 1888 – 1920.  The history and original use of the building formed part of the application.


4. The application was for a change of use as an incentive to both restore and preserve the archaeological remains and history of the building.


5. The local authority sent their conservation officer, Ms Chezel Bird, to evaluate the site for historical importance.  I met Ms Bird on site and conducted a tour where a number of features common to early steam powered generating stations were pointed out.  I also showed Ms Bird a subsurface chamber to the front of the building not connected with electricity generation.


6. The local authority refused the permission, stating that in their opinion there was no history of any importance to warrant protection, which would qualify the proposal in respect of DC10 of their Local Plan.


7. I now refer to DC 10 as seen in the exhibit bundle at pages 59-63, where it is made clear that the preservation of history is a priority and where such development proposals will normally be permitted.

8. I relied on the Council’s conservation officer to comply with the requirements of The Town & Country Planning Act 1990 as amended and updated on a regular basis by the circulation of Planning Policy Guidance Notes.  As the applicants were not expert in conservation policy (in person), the Council had/have a duty to fully research the history and present a balanced report to Committee, to enable the Committee to reach an informed decision.  In the event, no such information was made available to Committee and the application was refused.


9. The application went to appeal, where in the absence of any supporting information to sustain the historical importance of the building and the denial of such importance by Chezel Bird, the Inspector had no option but to uphold the decision of the Local Authority.


10. On or about 16th July 1997 I came to know Ronald Saunders.  Mr Saunders was able to confirm that he saw batteries in one room of The Old Steam House, where the coal-bunkers are/were and that his father was the engineer who ran the steam engines to produce electricity.


11. During March and May of 1998 I contacted the Sussex Industrial Archaeology Society.  A representative, Ronald Martin, visited The Old Steam House and confirmed its former use.  He later wrote a letter of support in connection with a planning application.  I refer to the exhibit bundle, where a copy of his letter shown stamped by Wealden District Council, is seen at page 25.


12. Now with supporting evidence of the history of the building, I made a further planning application WD/98/0996/F.  This application included details of the archaeological remains in a drawing.  Other information concerning the use was confirmed in a letter accompanying the application, seen at pages 26 to 32 of the attached exhibit bundle.


13. I was contacted by a concerned Councillor who had received an advance report for the next Area Plans South Sub Committee, in June 1998.  The officer report recommended to decline to determine the application under Section 70 of the T&CP Act 1990, where an application contains no new changes or material considerations.


14. I read the Act and realised that where new information concerning historical importance was introduced, that was sufficient reason for the Local Authority to consider the application.  At this time I did not know it was required by PPG 15.


15. I immediately wrote a detailed letter to every councillor explaining the new proposal and elaborating about the history as a material consideration.  I put the Councillors on Notice that a failure to consider the application may lead to a Judicial Review.


16. I attended the Committee meeting on 25-6-98 and fortunately am able to rely on a quality recording of the argument put forward by the officers.  The officers failed to introduce any argument relating to either PPG16 or PPG 15, or make reference to Circular 14/91.  The officers argued that the Council should not determine the application and that such determination would halt in progress litigation.  I gained the general impression that the officers wished to be able to continue with litigation concerning the removal of items from the building, amongst them toilet facilities, and that this was the reason for declining to determine the application.  The recording highlights the misdirection and extraneous argument.  One officer, Mr Scarpa went so far as to say that I would not achieve a Judicial Review.  I now make reference to the recording attached hereto and refer to it as Exhibit 2.


17. I now know that PPG 15 & 16 make it abundantly clear that such applications are to be afforded express priority under the direction of the Secretary of State with a presumption in favour, and as seen at pages 64-68 and 83-89 of the exhibit bundle.  I also know that Circular 14/91 expressly says that any significant material circumstance is sufficient reason for the Council to determine an application and that the applicant should be given the benefit of the doubt.  Accordingly, the officers presentation to Committee was unbalanced and failed to direct the Committee members properly and according to the requirements of the Acts and Policy Guidance Notes.  According to the National Code of Local Government Conduct, Councillors are personally responsible for wrong decisions, even though the information to make a more informed decision was denied to them.  There is no discretion to ignore PPG notes in relation to historical/archaeological sites.


18. The application was refused by the Committee, they declining to determine according to officer recommendation.  Accordingly, I applied to the Legal Aid Board for funding for a Judicial Review.  This too was refused and I could not obtain Legal Insurance from Law Assist to pursue the matter privately.


19. I attempted to Appeal the decision to the Planning Inspectorate, who pointed out that where S. 70 had been invoked, my only remedy was to apply for a Judicial Review.  Helpfully the Inspectorate copied part of Circular 14/91, where the rules concerning S.70 are laid out.  I refer to this letter as seen in the exhibit bundle at pages 16 and 17.  By now I was out of time to apply for a Judicial Review.


20. About this time I made contact with a local historian who directed me to ‘The Maltings’, a reference library in Lewes.  Here I found a mention of The Old Steam House dated 10th October 1913.  The report tells of electricity supplied to the village for cooking and lighting.  I was also able to discover from the visitors book, that Chezel Bird had visited the library in connection with the planning application in 1995.  As an amateur I located the newspaper reference with ease using microfilm rolls which are clearly date attributed.  I can see no reason why a professional could not also locate the same reference.  I now refer to the extract seen at page 92 of the attached exhibit bundle.


21. I wrote to the Council listing 17 material considerations and Mr Kay wrote back confirming that these were indeed material to any planning application.  I refer to these letters seen in the exhibit bundle at pages 14 and 15.


22. I contacted the Royal Commission of Historic Monuments in England.  The Commission kindly faxed back a list showing that only 26 buildings were shown listed in England for power generating buildings.  I now refer to the fax seen at page 13 in the exhibit bundle.  I understand that listing is similar to scheduling.


23. In light of this information I realised that these premises were a valuable archaeological resource and not previously known.  I contacted English Heritage to find out more.  English Heritage informed me that they had especially commissioned a Monument Protection Programme in 1994.  Buildings supplying electricity between 1888 and 1919 were an especially rare resource.  I was told that Local Authorities had been consulted as part of the Programme, but that Wealden had not informed them about these premises.  I refer to extracts of the MPP Stage 1 Report seen at pages 69 to 82 in the exhibit bundle.


24. I contacted the County Archaeologist at Lewes.  He visited the site and showed me PPG 15 and PPG 16.  He advised me that the features of the upper level consisting of original match-boarding were worthy of preservation.  He did not know of the Monument Protection Programme to protect early industrial electricity buildings.  But he did confirm without any doubt that this was a steam powered station.  He also told me that I was fortunate, because Wealden’s District Planning Officer was a keen amateur archaeologist and would know the value of this find.


25. I wrote to Wealden saying that I wished a meeting in advance of a planning application, but they refused to discuss any application from me.  In fact, Mr Philips, an enforcement officer told me I might as well give the building to my neighbours and later put this writing.  He said he would discuss a planning application with the owner.  The District Planning Officer has recently denied any negligence on the part of their officers in handling planning applications since 1994. I refer to correspondence seen in the exhibit bundle at pages 2–12 .


26. I spoke with Councillor Jarman, my local member.  He seemed rather evasive and not ready to commit himself, or support any application.  He confirmed that he knew about the electricity generation, but he said “who is going to pay for the restoration”.  I concluded that the Local Authority were rather more than disinclined to fund or part fund restorative works.  I wrote to Mr Jarman asking if funding was a consideration in the planning process.  So far I have not received a reply.  I refer to my letter seen at page 7 in the exhibit bundle.


27. Not long after my conversation with Councillor Jarman, I spoke with a gentleman who had just spoken with Councillor Jarman.  When asked about resolving the planning situation at these premises Councillor Jarman said words to the effect: “the situation will be resolved when the Council finally bankrupt Mr Kruschandl”.


28. I have recently received a bill of costs from the Council and letters from Mrs Nuttall confirming that she intends to bankrupt me.  I take this as confirmation that the various conversations were an accurate portrayal of the Council’s method by which to dispose of this matter, and so avoiding liability for the negligent appraisal by Chezel Bird and subsequent frustration of WD/98/0996/F by wrongly invoking S70 to be able to decline to determine the application.


29. It appears that the legal department refused to agree a reasonable compromise in respect of toilet removal, so as to advantage themselves of an expense bill, which they duly achieved.  I was the litigant in person in the Court of Appeal and they could be confident of my failure.


30. My understanding of PPG 16 and 15 is that the Local Authority are to refer such matters to English Heritage if they are unsure of the value of any historical find.  On each of the cited applications they have failed to take the steps as recommended by English Heritage or PPG’s.  I feel that the Council’s conservation officer was negligent and that during the handling of subsequent applications where new evidence has highlighted the negligence of the conservation officer, other officers have simply diverted attention away from the correct procedure so as to frustrate my attempts to put a fully supported application before the Committee.


31. In 1995 a survey was commissioned by English Heritage to identify the cause of loss of so many English monuments.  According to the MARS Report of 1995, one monument a day is lost.  Most losses occur in the South East of England.  I refer to pages 54 to 56 in the exhibit bundle.


32. Step 3 of the Monument Protection Programme to identify and protect early electrical power stations, notably steam powered units on private estates, shows demonstrably that there is a shortage of examples of this period, that no building contains machinery and that in the South East, only Bateman’s exists.  Bateman’s is a small water turbine and therefore competing technology.  I refer to the MPP updates seen at pages 33-35 and 58 and the brochure on Bateman’s, seen at pages 36-38 in the exhibit bundle.


33. It is reasonable to assume that if the Committee had been provided with the information of the Monument Protection Programme dated June 1994, PPG16 and 15, (Circular 14/91) and other information pertinent to changes of use to protect our heritage, they may have come to a different decision on the application in 1995.  It follows that if the application had been refused, after such information had been properly provided, that the Secretary of State would have considered the Appeal in light of policies designed to protect Early Industrial Generating Stations.


34. In all the circumstances and in consideration of the above affidavit with reference to the exhibits, it appears as though the proper procedures as laid down by the Secretary of State have not been followed and that there has been negligence for which I should be entitled to relief.




Before me,


                           ……………………………………………………    Solicitor









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