DORKING SOS have recently discovered that Mole Valley District Council have denied some of their tenants the Right to Buy in order to increase the potential profits of the devloper, before any plans have been submitted let alone aproved.
In order to ease any potential problems during a protracted planning process, the council have placed over their tennants a demolition order for the maximum period of five years, during which time any Right to Buy applications cannot be made by the tenants - all of this would be in the absence of any planning permission.
Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) have recently agreed to sell some of their land to the property developer Thornfield, the purpose of which would be a for the proposed superstore. The public have been told (although the agreement has never been published) that the sale of the land owned by the council is contingent upon planning permission being given by the same council (although MVDC insist two different departments within its organisation are dealing with the sale and the planning).
Part of the land is a block of council flats called Church Gardens, which is the home of mainly elderly residents. MVDC have themselves conducted a survey of the residents to find out their views on the proposed development and only four flats out of 24 were in favour of it. "Thought she was housed for life and wants to remain as long as possible" was a typical comment.
Dorking SOS have acquired an internal MVDC document (which the council published in error on their web site - it is marked not for publication), which contains details of the council's commitments under their (unpublished) agreement with Thornfield over the sale of land to facilitate the proposed new superstore. The document is from the Policy Committee Meeting on 13th June. The relevant pages are 148-152 (towards the end).
The council are proposing issuing a demolition notice as early as possible in order to avoid the problem of Right to Buy tenants, both current and any potential future applicants. The council clearly intend to avoid applications for Right to Buy as "the Council would be less likely to share in any profit". Tenants buying the flats are regarded as an obstacle because if the scheme goes ahead the developer might need to buy them back - "and the tenants could "extract ransom value".
The document shows the full extent to which MVDC are colluding with the developer Thornfield and the scant regard which they show towards the residents of Church Gardens, many of whom are elderly. The council clearly regard the residents as a nuisance and their motivation is evidently to make as much money from the sale of the land to Thornfield as possible.
Repeated requests by Dorking SOS members to see the content of the agreement through Freedom of Information Act requests have been turned down because the details are "commercially sensitive", a phrase we find baffling to describe an agreement between a supermarket and a council.
The council have always maintained that nothing has been agreed, yet they are prepared to put vulnerable people at risk in order "to comply with certain obligations under the development agreement for the site adjoining St Martin's Walk".
Subsequent to the meeting Church Gardens tenants have now received a letter from MVDC stating that "demolition notices will be issued on all tenants during October".