Peter Townley has been a director of Lime Park Estate Limited since 1986. There is a general duty incumbent on every citizen to protest historic assets in England, regardless of any potential conflict of interest as to land ownership.
The following is a chronological history of planning related matters pertaining to The Old Rectory in Lime Park from 1981 to 2019 :-
This property was owned by the Lord Bishop Diocese of Chichester until around 1983 when it was sold to Anthony and Anne Hall. It was sold again quickly to another large family who sold again to Peter and June Townley. The Rectory was renamed "The Old Rectory" at this stage.
At this point in time the only boundary between what was the old stable unit and the old generating buildings was the remains of an iron fence. The general rule was applied as to distance from extant buildings and emplacements, as had been the case since 1948 when the stables were converted for residential use.
Peter Townley and Henry Arnell were instrumental in forming Lime Park Estate Limited around 1986.
Lime Park Estate Ltd began litigation shortly after formation with what looks to have been the intention to prevent tree surgery and other essential works against Nelson Kruschandl. This was in connection with a dead holly tree and boundary issues where the new company was concerned with operation of the shared drive only, but no other land. The limits of operation being restricted to that transferred in law as shown on a Land Registry map at that time coloured in blue.
The tree litigation was pursued in conjunction with tree preservation orders that Wickens Estates, Nikolai Askaroff, and others in Lime Park, had been instrumental in working with Wealden District Council to obtain. In essence, many of the more prominent residents in Lime Park appear to have ganged up on Mr Kruschandl to force the local authority to take action. For their part, this Council appear to have enjoyed helping those in Lime Part to assert their power over their victim, leading to appeals where Wealden's officers were prepared to lie on oath to gain advantage - all of which was in denial of their duty to protect the historic asset.
In 1988 Peter Townley gave evidence in the Crown Court in a case where Wealden District Council alleged breach of an enforcement notice. His evidence was designed to assist Wealden to gain a conviction. It is alleged that Mr and Mrs Townley knew about the generating history attaching to the extant buildings - as did the Council that they were aiding and abetting. If that is the case, as logic would dictate on the balance of probability, Townley and his wife were guilty of an offence under the Accessories and Abettors Act of 1861. There is no statute of limitations on crimes involving deceiving the Secretary of State. Peter Townley is though of advanced age and may be seen as unfit to stand trial. We presume that this is the reason that their victim has not pursued the matter.
NICE NEIGHBOURS - Immediately after June and Peter Townley moved into Lime Park in 1986, they began making trouble for the occupier of the adjacent historic buildings. Eventually, Peter Townley asked his neighbour directly how much he wanted to sell up. This was after receipt of umpteen anonymous offers to buy via estate agents. These anonymous offers could have been from any person in the Park, but they coincided with Council action where the identity of the complainant was geographically obvious, but such information is regarded as secret so that nobody knows who is making waves.
The object of denying the history attaching to the generating buildings appears to have been to be able to purchase the premises at an undervalue. Planning blight is often used for this purpose. With the eager help of the local authority - and in particular with the help of Christine Nuttall, David Phillips and Victorio Scarpa, it is alleged that Peter Townley conspired with Wealden District Council to deny the history, forcing the occupier to multiple appeals where it must have been agreed between parties that the council would tell the Secretary of State that there was no history for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to consider - and that they did. Wealden are well known for soliciting complaints and then fostering a relationship with their stooges, in some cases supplying confidential documents to any person who might be able to apply pressure on the Council's adversaries, such as to divert their attention during litigation.
In order to be able to carry this off and continue to act with one eye shut, Wealden refused to compile a list of local historic buildings. If they had done so, they would not have been able to carry on deceiving the Secretary of State, the County Archaeologist, or many of the Members of their Council who were and are honest. Unfortunately, many councillors are not honest, having become tempted by the potential to make money from the planning system, or fostering their own land interests, having allowed themselves to be swayed by dishonest officers that the odd mistake or favour can be swept under the carpet without consequences.
BANKRUPTCY & CHRISTOPHER LETHAM
Between 1993 and 1995 Peter and June Townley attempted to use a costs order in relation to a supposed trespass injunction that he routinely breached, to bankrupt his neighbour and acquire the premises at an undervalue. This is set against the evidence that he provided to the Secretary of State, the Crown Court and again to the Secretary of State in 1997, that was misleading, in that all of these tribunals were told that the buildings adjacent to the Old Rectory were of no historic value and were not the old generating buildings. When as a matter of fact and degree they are, according to an authoritative Report from 1999.
This raises the issue of a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice existing between any and all parties concerned in the denial of the archaeological origins of the generating complex.
In 1997 Peter Townley gave evidence to Inspector Raymond Michael in another planning appeal to the Secretary of State. It is alleged that Mr Townley knew that he was party to Wealden's deception, but that having been one of the complainants, he was sure to want to add any weight that he could to assist the Council in their efforts to dupe the planning inspector. Henry Arnell was also at the public inquiry.
J D Moss and Chezel Bird also gave evidence at this public enquiry, appearing for Wealden District Council. J D Moss was a senior planner and still is (@ Feb 2019) with Wealden in policy. Chezel Bird was formerly with English Heritage, yet both professionals failed to contact the County Archaeologist, let alone English Heritage. The level of negligence is staggering. Obviously Wealden did not want to use the correct procedure, where they wanted to nurse the lies they had given to Inspector Dannreuther. If they had contacted either outside agency as per Planning Policy Guidance Notes 15 and 16, the truth would have come out sooner. J D Moss was the council officer who lied about returning copyright photographs, working with David Phillips to post date the pictures in an effort to gain an injunction against the occupier of the generating works. When faced with evidence of their fraud, Phillips refused to enter the courtroom at the Royal Courts for fear of being prosecuted for perjury. Perjury is a serious matter. Conspiracy to pervert the course of justice is even more serious, as no doubt Moss and his boss Trevor Scott, Wealden's new chief executive, are well aware.
Victorio Scarpa was the head solicitor at Wealden at this time. When asked how much evidence it would take for his Council to recognise the history of the building, he is noted as saying: "A whole lot." What he meant by this is that he thought his Council had done a pretty good job of persuading everyone that the generating station was not that at all, but a replacement building on the same footings. Vic Scarpa knew that with Douglas Moss and Chezel Bird prepared to look the other way and then say there was no evidence to say what the building was, that the Secretary of State would have no choice but to take their word for it. We wonder how these officers of the court sleep at night. Probably on soft down pillows, purchased with their blood money. Your taxes. You are paying to keep people like this employed in positions of trust. No wonder Great Britain is no longer the Empire it once was. There are too many corrupt civil servants with their snouts in a diminishing trough.
No doubt Peter and June Townley and Henry Arnell were overjoyed when Inspector Michael concluded (wrongly) that the generating building was not the original gem that it is. The wool was still over the eyes of Her Majesty's Planning Inspectorate. The following year the Sussex Industrial Archaeology Society would chime in to begin to reverse the charade orchestrated by some of the residents in Lime Park, working with Wealden District Council's charlatans.
ROTTEN WOOD - The old stable block was converted to residential use after the Second World War. It's hardly surprising that the battens are showing their age, not replaced with the modern pink battening that is favoured by insurance and mortgage companies, but with traditional treated batten. When Peter and June Townley moved into the Rectory building they removed some trees without any bother from Wealden. They also installed an internal staircase to replace the external iron steps that lead to the room above their lounge. Copyright © photograph, Herstmonceux Museum Ltd 23 February 2019, All rights reserved.
LEAKS - The Rectory roof consists of clay tiles that are very old and in need of some attention, no doubt eaten away by mild acid rain and sycamore resin. One might argue that this is part of the charm of owning a period building. Some of the battens were replaced by John the roofer in February of 2019. Strangely, the breather felt is relatively modern. One of the reasons that the Bishop of Chichester sold this property was given as the high heating costs. Copyright © photograph, Herstmonceux Museum Ltd 19 February 2019, All rights reserved.
In 2016 Peter and June Townley applied for planning permission to convert two garages and other outbuildings to a granny annex. Reference: WD/2016/0809/F.
This was to be the final straw that broke the camel's back. In the making of this application Peter Townley made a number of mis-declarations. He failed to mention the Party Wall Act and that his application for works to his outbuildings came under this heading, also invoking the duty of care to the heritage asset that was now recognised by the County Archaeologist.
In addition the East Sussex Act bit on the application where Mr Townley proposed destroying two garages in his courtyard to make way for a Granny Annex, so creating the need for more parking spaces in Lime Park, an area that was already crowded at certain times, making it near impossible for fire and garbage trucks to negotiate access.
In that conditions were imposed on the application that was granted by Wealden District Council, Peter Townley - and indeed - any future owner of The Old Rectory, could never avoid the consequences of compensation in relation to any building works and the requirement to instruct a surveyor prior to commencement of structural alterations.
This means that any owner of The Old Rectory past 2016 is bound by a general duty to protect the generating works, including repairing any defective rainwater goods that might cause water build up in the adjacent passage. Equally, any effort to obstruct the occupiers of the historic asset, in making repairs or improvements, would fall to be considered as a failing in this general duty.
Whereas, the support wall to the north of The Old Rectory is not tanked on the outside to prevent water penetration and with defective rainwater goods, is most likely to suffer from damp internal walls. The most immediate cure for this is to repair and allow to be repaired any defective rainwater goods. The second cure for any residual internal damp would be to tank the walls internally. The alternative, to excavate and rebuild the supporting wall is likely to be prohibitively expensive - where once again any buildings works would be the subject of surveyors and compensation to the occupiers of the adjacent historic asset.
His neighbours have offered to help with paving and drainage works at their own expense, to try and resolve the damp problem. This is because over the past twenty + years the Townleys have not spent a penny on maintaining this area, closing it off from access, in the full knowledge that leaving the area to grow wild would cause damage to the adjacent historic building.
One can see from this why it was that Peter and June Townley were so keen to acquire the historic generating buildings at a knock down price, and of course to hide the archaeological revelations for fear of invoking the Party Wall Act 1996 and the need to pay compensation, allied to the expense of surveyors where underpinning of the old generating buildings would be the likely result of an award, meaning compensation would be payable to his neighbours for the inconvenience, also being that such works would be a risk in view of the potential to damage the wooden heritage asset. Thus it was that planning application WD/2016/0809/F became the straw that broke the camel's back.
LOVELY FRONTAGE - No expense was spared for the upkeep of other areas of The Rectory. Two gardeners were employed to cut the grass and tend the flower beds. Additionally, landscaper, Russell Pike, would visit regularly to take instructions on Park clearing, etc., and presumably collect payment. Everyone was hoping that Peter and June Townley would tend to their hedges and guttering at the rear of the Rectory, but alas, that was not to be the case, even after receiving confirmation of the historic status of the adjacent buildings from the Council that could no longer hide the truth.
The only reason that action was not taken at this stage was/is because of the advancing years of the occupants. Take a look at the picture below to see what was really going on behind the scenes. Builders various have come and gone. Letters sent to Peter and June Townley asking for them to be reasonable, were never acknowledged. The couple refused to give the name of their solicitors. Nobody wants to trouble old folks, but when they refuse all offers of help and continue to break the law, what is one to do? It is likely that Mr Townley is playing on the kindness of the adjacent occupiers not to litigate unless absolutely necessary. Well done to his neighbours for putting up with his antisocial stance for so long.
ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR - The legal height for a row of evergreens like this is two meters. You can see from the six foot fencing panel on the right that the height of these trees is more like fourteen feet. Russell Pike trimmed these trees to just over 12 feet in 2012. When asked why he had not cut them to the correct legal height, he replied that he thought twelve feet was the legal height under the Antisocial Behaviour Act 2003. If you check this out on any Government website you will see that it is 6 feet 6 inches or two meters.
In addition, it is folly to allow trees this size to grow untended when so close to archaeologically important foundations. They are just three feet away at the closest point. Faced with this evidence, there can be little doubt that Peter and June Townley were acting contrary to the law. Peter Townley continues to be defiant. This may become the subject of litigation if Peter Townley, his agents, or his successors do not start to behave themselves. Anyone thinking of purchasing the old Rectory would do well to look at the liability they would be taking on. Any new owner would be likely to become the subject of an Antisocial Behaviour Order if they did not tend these evergreens. We doubt though that any new owner would not want to get this hedge under control. Especially where damages could mount as the roots undermine the adjacent foundations.
ANTI SOCIAL BEHAVIOR
Willful neglect is failing to carry out routine maintenance, or otherwise preventing another from doing what is required to keep grounds of buildings in good order. If the acts done in pursuing such a course of action cause a neighbour loss, then the Fraud Act 2006 may kick in.
Peter and June Townley engineered a situation where land adjacent to the historic buildings could not be accessed by themselves or anyone else, where they trained leylandii and holly to block east and west access points. Brambles grew up to a height of nine feet or more with thick stems, proliferating in the division unchecked and causing significant damage via persistent penetration, to include destroying cast iron guttering on the rear of the Old Rectory buildings. Ivy and nettles were also encouraged, bringing their own problems.
Where the previous occupiers had planted a row of evergreens, the Townleys failed to keep them in good order, encouraging them to grow to an excessive height. In 2011/12, Peter Townley asked Russell Pike or Perfect Gardens to reduce the height to four meters, knowing that the height should be two meters. This was/is because Section 8 of the Antisocial Behaviour Act 2003 had by now become law in the United Kingdom, dealing with high hedges and loss of light.
the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003, "high hedge" means ‘so
much of a barrier to light or access as:
In an age where Climate Change is a hot topic and solar power is a valuable means to reduce energy consumption, an intelligent neighbour would know that in allowing a row of evergreens to grow to such as height as to obscure collection of sunlight, would be, or would become a real concern to anyone trying to harvest either solar heat or light for photovoltaic panels. The Climate Change Act 2008 imposed targets on local authorities to reduce greenhouse gases. The Permitted Development Order of 2015 emphasizes that planning consent is not required to install solar harvesting devices, presumably as a means to allow householders to help the UK Government to meet their United Nations sustainability targets.
EVIDENCE - This access to the shared drive should be kept clear at all time. This photograph taken in January of 2019 shows that the covenants that must be performed for the benefit of all users, are not being performed by the directors of Lime Park Estate Ltd. This is a clear breach of their fiduciary duty to the other occupiers in Lime Park. When this area was cleared, the helpful volunteer was accused of vandalism. Clare Askaroff (majority shareholder) confirmed that the directors had been allowing this access to overgrow for reasons of privacy. note also the padlock, another violation of the deed covenants. Copyright © photograph, Herstmonceux Museum Ltd January 2019.
As the former controlling mind of Lime Park Estate Limited, Peter should have known that the land coloured blue on the Land Registry plan is a drive that was transferred from Wickens Estates Ltd to Lime Park Estate Ltd in 1986, subject to: "a covenant to observe and perform the covenants referred to in the Charges Register and of indemnity in respect thereof." The directors of Lime Park Estate must therefore keep the access at both ends of the drive open.
The present concern is that the present managing director (controlling mind), Clare Askaroff, in conjunction with other directors appear to believe that they can ignore their duty to perform the covenants, despite it being a prime condition of transfer and the only reason for the transfer.
LACK OF MAINTENANCE - It has taken years of neglect for brambles and ivy to destroy the guttering at the rear of the Old Rectory. This sort of thing does not happen overnight. If it was not for the sums of money lavished on keeping the frontage of these old stable buildings looking good, you might conclude that this level of neglect was simply because Peter Townley does not have the money to effect the repairs, or that he has lost sight of the need to keep his buildings in good repair. Copyright © photograph, Herstmonceux Museum Ltd. 23 February 2019.
WANTON NEGLECT - The water comes streaming down the walls to the rear of the stable block. It would have been a simple matter to fix this guttering 10 or 15 years ago, instead of which the water was feeding the brambles and ivy that was making the situation worse. Both ends of the guttering are feeding water into the passage between the early electricity generating station and the stable block. The guttering in between the two corners of this roof is completely missing. Earth is banked up against the walls of this building where the stable unit was built much lower into the bank than the electricity works. In turn the rear of the generating works is set into the hillside, but with a waterproof render and a surface water drainage system than tends to keep damp at bay. Copyright © photograph, Herstmonceux Museum Ltd. 23 February 2019.
WHAT'S MISSING - Oh yes, there is no guttering at the rear of the garages facing into the stable block, for the full length. We wonder where all the water is going. Copyright © photograph, Herstmonceux Museum Ltd. 24 February 2019.
NO GUTTERING HERE EITHER - The problem is that without access to this passage, the guttering on the Generating buildings cannot be tended either. Hence, by keeping this passage sealed, Peter and June Townley were causing damage to both properties. Where such a situation persists, the Courts may step in to order access for the neighbours next door to be able to tend to pressing maintenance issues. unfortunately, we do not think that a Court might be able to Order Peter Townley to tend to this own property. The next owner might be more appreciative of his buildings, where although of lesser historic importance, they do play a valuable supporting role, as do the other buildings in Lime Park. Copyright © photograph, Herstmonceux Museum Ltd. 24 February 2019.
RAIN - Without any guttering, rain washes down the back walls of the garages, then soaking into the passage soil. You don't get mould and brick deterioration like this without water and freezing winters. The ivy and brambles that were growing uncontrolled up these walls were removed by kind volunteers. Copyright © photograph, Herstmonceux Museum Ltd. 24 February 2019.
ROTTEN WOODWORKS - The windows are badly decayed and in need of replacement. It takes years of neglect to get to this stage. With no access the retired couple obviously had no plans to tend to the rampant flora, the windows or gutters. Copyright © photograph, Herstmonceux Museum Ltd. 24 February 2019.
CAST IRON - Oh look, here is some of the fallen guttering. Some of the cast iron gutters were replaced elsewhere at the front of this property, but not on the garages to the rear. They received no maintenance at all in twenty years. The passage was sealed off so that nobody could gain access. Out of sight out of mind is wonderful where it does not matter, but where buildings are important, they should be properly looked after. Copyright © photograph, Herstmonceux Museum Ltd. 24 February 2019.
ASBESTOS - Wow! The outbuilding adjacent to the garages is made of asbestos. Is this dangerous to the occupiers health? What about their grandchildren. Is there any danger to their neighbours? You can see that the owners of the Rectory have tried to cover this up with a tin roof overlaid a years or so back. This guttering also needs attention. We think that the cover up should have been removal and replacement with a safer building material. This would require notice under the provisions of the Party Wall Act. Copyright © photograph, Herstmonceux Museum Ltd. 24 February 2019.
IVY - By way of an example of the level of ivy and brambles in the abandoned passage, this is what remained of the growth in February 2019 after the asbestos roof was covered over. The builder covering the asbestos had to cut the ivy to be able to fit the green tin roofing. By contrast the grounds in front of the Old Rectory building are well kept. The pattern is obvious, no part of the northern boundary separating the Rectory from the Generating Works was looked after. Twenty years of abandonment and more tends to cause a lot of damage. Peter and June Townley were intelligent people and would have known this. Where June Townley passed away in 2018, there is nothing to stop Peter Townley from getting rid of the asbestos in 2019. Copyright © photograph, Herstmonceux Museum Ltd 24. February 2019.
Vandalism takes many forms. If any person willfully prevents preservation works, or even simply neglects to properly maintain land in the knowledge that shrubs and plants will cause damage if left untended, that level of wanton neglect could constitute vandalism in failing to perform a duty, just as if the perpetrators were removing lead from a church roof is sure to cause decay to the fabric of a building. If such behaviour persists, your only remedy might be to seek the assistance of the County Court with an application under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992.
Lime Park Estates Limited was set up in March of 1985 by some of the residents in Lime Park, as company number 01893712 expressly to take over management of a shared access.
According to companies house this is a 'residents' property management company, code: 98000. But that may not be strictly accurate, where many of the occupiers in the Park are not represented and this company works against the interests of some of those who are not represented to cause loss contrary to the Fraud Act 2006.
Whereas, any company purporting to manage a shared drive exists to ensure that such access is secured for all. In this case there are two ways of accessing the shared drive, one of which is not properly being maintained.
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Map of the Wealden District
LINKS & REFERENCE
FARMING - The backbone of any society is the production of food to feed the population, though these days much of what we eat is imported from other producers, such as fish farmed in Asia. We can no longer find enough fish locally having exhausted our fisheries. Agriculture is also changing where we have drained the soil for so long with artificial fertilizers that yields will fall, meaning a shift to obtaining protein from the sea - but unfortunately we are disposing of around 8 millions tons of plastic in our seas - poisoning marine life that we need to keep us nourished. Food security is therefore high on the United Nations agenda via the Food and Agriculture Organization.