Monday, 11 November 2013

Pavillion Way Sports field sale - What the Council haven't told the residents about the restrictive covenants

The Barnet Eye was most disturbed to read last week that the Council is selling the football pitches at Pavillion Way. What does not seem to have been mentioned to local members of the public is the fact that they can force the council to abandon the sale. You see there is a restrictive covenant on the Land in favour of Laings Land Limited. Laings were a large building company based for many years in Mill Hill. The Company were very progressively socially minded. They foresaw the day when a greedy council may try and cash in and sell the land, so they put a restrictive covenant in.

This covenant provides that the council cannot use the property except as sports pitches for use by the general public with ancillary changing rooms and parking and planted areas, all maintained at the Councils expense. Even more interesting is the fact that covenant is enforcable by all the individual owners of the housing estate to the south and east of the property.

Now has the council chosen to recognise the generosity of Laing's to the people of Burnt Oak and respect the wishes of their generous gift? Nope. Word reaches the Barnet Eye that a secret Council report has been published (which you are not allowed to see because it is "commercially sensitive") which contains advice for how the Council and property developers can get around the wishes of the benefactor.

We've been informed that there is an "Upper tribunal" that can release the covenant if it (i) Is obsolete or (ii) Impedes reasonable use of the land. Last time I looked, football was still our national sport and there is a shortage of facilities for sport in Barnet, so (i) is clearly invalid. As to (ii), the council are the ones trying to restrict the "reasonable use of the land". This is because the land is designated as sports facilities in an area that needs them. The council are trying to hoodwink the people out of their rightful inheritance, so that a few developers can line their pockets. It is quite frankly, disgusting.

I urge all owners of properties to the South and East of the site to inform the council that they wish to enforce the covenant. Furthermore, I ask them to insist the council fulfill their part of the bargain and maintain the covenant as agreed.

The Barnet Eye will be keeping a keen eye on this one. It is clear that the council cannot be trusted to look after the people of Barnet.

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