Golf course dumping row leaves council a £27k bill

Ron, right, and Mick Wyatt on Waterstock golf course

Ron, right, and Mick Wyatt on Waterstock golf course

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Health reporter, also covering Kidlington. Call me on 01865 425271

THE latest twist in a legal row over the dumping of waste material at an Oxfordshire golf course has left a council with a bill of £27,000.

Oxfordshire County Council mistakenly believed the High Court had made an order allowing it to apply to seize the assets of the Wyatt brothers for a clean-up.

But the court this week said no order had been made and ordered £27,000 costs to the Wyatt brothers, who own Waterstock Golf Club.

They have been wrangling with the council since material from construction of the M40 junction 10 services was put there in the 1990s for landscaping.

The Wyatts have lost several court battles since 1998 and were jailed in 2012 for contempt after failing to comply with rulings to clear the material.

The council wanted to seize some assets from Ron Wyatt, 72 and Mick Wyatt, 76 to help cover the £3.5m clean-up operation.

Council spokesman Paul Smith said the court ruled on Wednesday that an earlier order for sequestration of assets was “made without jurisdiction”.

He said: “When an earlier judge ordered an application for sequestration of assets be deemed to have been made, it was ineffective.”

Mr Smith said the Wyatts did not appeal against the order and met some of its demands, so it had assumed there was no a problem.

The local authority had assumed that an order had been made, but it was ruled this week that the order, which was originally applied for in 2011, did not stand up.

Ron Wyatt said: “To start it off again they will have to start from scratch. Our hope has always been to resolve this. We have served time in prison and feel very hard done by.”

He said the council’s plan to remove the material was “hopelessly wrong” and added: “Nothing should be removed.

“The land is as close as possible to what existed before we started, bearing in mind that we are engineering the lake there.”

He said: “It would be difficult to put it back to how it was before.”

Mr Smith said: “The council had relied on the court’s earlier decisions to seek to use the assets of the Wyatts, but the court has indicated that technical court procedures had to be followed before that step could be taken.

“The council was surprised at the judgment, given the court had appeared to approve of the council’s course of action, and there being no objection from the Wyatts at the time.”

He said the council “will obviously now reconsider what further enforcement action is appropriate in this case, as the Wyatts have still failed to remove the many thousand of tonnes of waste that they unlawfully deposited on their land.”

 

TIMELINE

  • Mid-1990s: Brothers Ron and Michael Wyatt use waste construction material at Waterstock Golf Club 
  • 1998: The first injunction is issued to the brothers to clear the waste 
  • 1999: A public inquiry is held and the inspector rules against the brothers 
  • 2000: Ron Wyatt says the soil was brought from the site of the M40 services at Wheatley to construct nine new holes 
  • 2005: A High Court order tells the brothers to clear the waste 
  • 2007: Ron Wyatt uses the Freedom of Information Act to discover Oxfordshire County Council has spent £187,000 on consultants to fight its case through the courts 
  • 2011: The brothers are ordered to comply with an earlier High Court order to search for the building material still within the site 
  • 2012: A High Court judge jails the Wyatts for repeatedly refusing to comply with the injunction 
  • 2013: After being released from HMP Pentonville, Mick Wyatt pledges to fight on against the county council 
  • 2014: The county council hears its attempt to get an order to take the brothers’ assest has failed
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Comments (7)

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8:14am Sat 19 Jul 14

Myron Blatz says...

Yet another massive waste of public money by County Council, along with the huge amounts which City Council spends in litigation and public consultation - and then ignores what the public actually wants!
Yet another massive waste of public money by County Council, along with the huge amounts which City Council spends in litigation and public consultation - and then ignores what the public actually wants! Myron Blatz
  • Score: 9

10:28am Sat 19 Jul 14

Darren j Evans says...

This is such a ridiculous wate of time, effort and money. We are talking about soil...noone has died or been severly injured as a result so I do not see the relevance in this litigation. Who in their right mind would think it a good idea to persue tis isse? Soil was produced and not wanted as part of one construction and a home was found as part of another. I just cannot see what all the fuss is about. This is clearly a case of the 'world gone mad'! Let it go and get on with reporting real news and events so these good, har working people can get on with supporting the economy!
This is such a ridiculous wate of time, effort and money. We are talking about soil...noone has died or been severly injured as a result so I do not see the relevance in this litigation. Who in their right mind would think it a good idea to persue tis isse? Soil was produced and not wanted as part of one construction and a home was found as part of another. I just cannot see what all the fuss is about. This is clearly a case of the 'world gone mad'! Let it go and get on with reporting real news and events so these good, har working people can get on with supporting the economy! Darren j Evans
  • Score: 4

10:43am Sat 19 Jul 14

hot foot says...

What about the Oxfordshire County Councils own costs in this ridiculous exercise.Should the Councils own costs be similar to the Wyatts we are looking at a figure in excess on £50,000.Hardly a good start to the £62 million of savings that the Council are obliged to make this year.
This needs sorting out,now
What about the Oxfordshire County Councils own costs in this ridiculous exercise.Should the Councils own costs be similar to the Wyatts we are looking at a figure in excess on £50,000.Hardly a good start to the £62 million of savings that the Council are obliged to make this year. This needs sorting out,now hot foot
  • Score: 6

4:32pm Sat 19 Jul 14

eddiegasman says...

the sensible thing to do is make the golf course offer free junior membership to youngsters in the parish or local area , and put a covenant on the business that when it is sold it pays a fee to the council , and let everyone get and enjoy a facility as originally planned
the sensible thing to do is make the golf course offer free junior membership to youngsters in the parish or local area , and put a covenant on the business that when it is sold it pays a fee to the council , and let everyone get and enjoy a facility as originally planned eddiegasman
  • Score: -1

1:29am Sun 20 Jul 14

hawk_eye says...

It is a shame that the Oxford Mail cannot be a little more accurate with it's reporting of the true position regards the Council and the Wyatt's. Had the Mail dug a little deeper into this story it would have reported that the cost to the Council is far in excess of the £27,000 reported.

Firstly the actual figure ordered to be paid to the Wyatt's by the Court was £27,500 being the costs of their legal fees. Does the Oxford Mail consider that it cost the Council nothing to defend this application to strike out this ill conceived writ of sequestration. The actual cost to the Council could be in excess of £50,000.

This Writ was ordered by a Judge in 2010 against the Wyatt's company Wyatt Brothers (Oxford) Ltd and was to ensure that the Wyatt's pay for the costs of the Council in one court appearance. This was for a small amount, given the amount of money expended by the Council previously, said by its senior enforcement officer to be in excess of £100,000 in 2010. In fact the figure could be many hundreds of thousands of pounds more than that.

The Council's Solicitor and Barrister in 2011 then wrote and handed in an order to a Judge in the High Court which was clearly wrong . They had ignored or mistaken what a previous Judge had ordered and tried to change the order to suit the Council's position including both Ron and Mick Wyatt in this order as individuals. This was in my opinion a vindictive and malicious act to try and secure the personal assets of both Directors. It is clear that the Judge who signed this order had been duped into thinking that this had been previously ordered.

It shows that the Solicitor and Barrister of the County Council are either incompetent or were drunk on previous erroneous success and thought that they could get away with anything. It is noteworthy that what the Council were seeking within this sequestration order was to seize assets of the Wyatt's to the value of over £3.5 million when what a Judge had ordered was that the Wyatt's pay a figure of just over £8,000. This shows in my opinion how incompetent or corrupt it's legal department has become.

The order of sequestration was not only without Jurisdiction but was procedurally flawed.

The Oxford Mails article says that "waste" was "dumped" on the site at Waterstock. This is not the case, soil waste was placed on the site from the Wheatley triangle and all of that waste was removed save for that granted by permission to remain. Three enforcement Officers of OCC spent a period of eight months instructing the Wyatt's where to look for waste in 2010/11, heavy machinery was paid for by the Wyatt's for this task. It was agreed by the officers after this work had been carried out that no waste could be found in all of the areas where they had asked the Wyatt's to carry out the work and that the present enforcement plan and it predecessor were inaccurate and wrong. The officers produced a report relaying these facts to OCC lawyers who, after receiving it and forwarding it to its Barrister for consideration, lost or destroyed it, and have even tried to say it does not exist. Why are the Oxford Mail not requesting to see this report if it wants the facts?

If the Oxford Mail consider that waste not covered by planning permission still remains on the site at Waterstock , (and it must, as it keeps on reporting it ) could they please point the Wyatt's to it as OCC Senior planning enforcement and planning officers could not after spending a period of eight months looking for it!

This whole witch hunt by incompetent and in my view criminally minded Officers of OCC has been a complete waste of tax payers money. That is what the Oxford mail should be reporting on!
It is a shame that the Oxford Mail cannot be a little more accurate with it's reporting of the true position regards the Council and the Wyatt's. Had the Mail dug a little deeper into this story it would have reported that the cost to the Council is far in excess of the £27,000 reported. Firstly the actual figure ordered to be paid to the Wyatt's by the Court was £27,500 being the costs of their legal fees. Does the Oxford Mail consider that it cost the Council nothing to defend this application to strike out this ill conceived writ of sequestration. The actual cost to the Council could be in excess of £50,000. This Writ was ordered by a Judge in 2010 against the Wyatt's company Wyatt Brothers (Oxford) Ltd and was to ensure that the Wyatt's pay for the costs of the Council in one court appearance. This was for a small amount, given the amount of money expended by the Council previously, said by its senior enforcement officer to be in excess of £100,000 in 2010. In fact the figure could be many hundreds of thousands of pounds more than that. The Council's Solicitor and Barrister in 2011 then wrote and handed in an order to a Judge in the High Court which was clearly wrong . They had ignored or mistaken what a previous Judge had ordered and tried to change the order to suit the Council's position including both Ron and Mick Wyatt in this order as individuals. This was in my opinion a vindictive and malicious act to try and secure the personal assets of both Directors. It is clear that the Judge who signed this order had been duped into thinking that this had been previously ordered. It shows that the Solicitor and Barrister of the County Council are either incompetent or were drunk on previous erroneous success and thought that they could get away with anything. It is noteworthy that what the Council were seeking within this sequestration order was to seize assets of the Wyatt's to the value of over £3.5 million when what a Judge had ordered was that the Wyatt's pay a figure of just over £8,000. This shows in my opinion how incompetent or corrupt it's legal department has become. The order of sequestration was not only without Jurisdiction but was procedurally flawed. The Oxford Mails article says that "waste" was "dumped" on the site at Waterstock. This is not the case, soil waste was placed on the site from the Wheatley triangle and all of that waste was removed save for that granted by permission to remain. Three enforcement Officers of OCC spent a period of eight months instructing the Wyatt's where to look for waste in 2010/11, heavy machinery was paid for by the Wyatt's for this task. It was agreed by the officers after this work had been carried out that no waste could be found in all of the areas where they had asked the Wyatt's to carry out the work and that the present enforcement plan and it predecessor were inaccurate and wrong. The officers produced a report relaying these facts to OCC lawyers who, after receiving it and forwarding it to its Barrister for consideration, lost or destroyed it, and have even tried to say it does not exist. Why are the Oxford Mail not requesting to see this report if it wants the facts? If the Oxford Mail consider that waste not covered by planning permission still remains on the site at Waterstock , (and it must, as it keeps on reporting it ) could they please point the Wyatt's to it as OCC Senior planning enforcement and planning officers could not after spending a period of eight months looking for it! This whole witch hunt by incompetent and in my view criminally minded Officers of OCC has been a complete waste of tax payers money. That is what the Oxford mail should be reporting on! hawk_eye
  • Score: 4

9:48am Sun 20 Jul 14

hawk_eye says...

I would suggest that Eddie the gas man read the "justice for the Wyatt brothers"face book site so that he can be better informed before make what is a ridiculous comment . If he is a local person he will already know that Waterstock Golf Club has excellent facility's for juniors within the local area and the professionals at the club are some of the best around to help them achieve their goals.Everyone is enjoying the facility's provided at Waterstock , it's just a belligerent and corrupt County Council that has stopped the Wyatt's from improving them. You comments are welcome Eddie as it shows you are taking an interest, but please check your facts before doing so.
I would suggest that Eddie the gas man read the "justice for the Wyatt brothers"face book site so that he can be better informed before make what is a ridiculous comment . If he is a local person he will already know that Waterstock Golf Club has excellent facility's for juniors within the local area and the professionals at the club are some of the best around to help them achieve their goals.Everyone is enjoying the facility's provided at Waterstock , it's just a belligerent and corrupt County Council that has stopped the Wyatt's from improving them. You comments are welcome Eddie as it shows you are taking an interest, but please check your facts before doing so. hawk_eye
  • Score: 4

2:39pm Sun 20 Jul 14

Vocman says...

I cannot believe that the council were able to pull the wool over the judiciary's eyes so many times in this sorry affair.
The only thing that springs to mind is that "The Establishment" sought to support itself.
Thank heavens for a judge who was not so easily fooled.
Perhaps the Oxford Mail could employ a journalist with a similar tenacity to question the council over its tactics, the true cost to the council, and the whereabouts of the "missing" report.
I cannot believe that the council were able to pull the wool over the judiciary's eyes so many times in this sorry affair. The only thing that springs to mind is that "The Establishment" sought to support itself. Thank heavens for a judge who was not so easily fooled. Perhaps the Oxford Mail could employ a journalist with a similar tenacity to question the council over its tactics, the true cost to the council, and the whereabouts of the "missing" report. Vocman
  • Score: 2

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