• Save Stubbs Wood
    This is a well-used and loved local amenity constantly utilized by children, pet owners, ramblers, cyclists and even just people walking to the village shop. I have lived here for 15 years and have seen these woods used daily by many locals and also by ramblers, dog walkers, cyclists and horse riders who come from miles around to enjoy the wonderful views of Kent. Children play on their bikes, off the public footpaths, they even have a name for an area where they ride which has an undulating landscape, they call it "The Bumps". In the summer they play late into the evening and we often join them with marshmallows and drinks. If you want to avoid the road and the risk of getting run over, Stubbs Woods is a pleasant walk from Goathurst Common to the Ide Hill Village Shop. Many of us wander these paths to collect our Sunday paper. Last summer the residents of Goathurst Common and Mackerels Plain fought a planning application by one of the major landowners to develop another part of our area of outstanding natural beauty into an industrial farm complex. A petition raised to oppose that garnered 700 signatures. This was enough to persuade the local council to oppose the plan and it was eventually withdrawn citing the public opposition as the reason. So petitions work, I hope we can get a similar response to save our spectacular, ancient and well used public space.
    2,087 of 3,000 Signatures
    Created by stu Blakemore Picture
  • Hands Off The Brighton Royal Pavilion
    This is taken from an article in the Pensioner, which is a local Brighton and Hove magazine, specifically for older people, and was written by local activist Fancis Tonks. From time to time someone comes up with the idea to tear down the Royal Pavilion and build a hospital or build houses, yet the Pavilion, quirky and whimsical, made Brighton what it is today, originally a farmhouse the new Pavilion was designed by John Nash for the Prince Regent 200 years ago. Almost as if the Taj Mahal had been picked up and plonked down by the seaside, the Royal Pavilion is Indian outside and Chinese inside, it is a part of our history. The dining room has a massive dome complete with dragons and was lit with gas for banquets. The music room housed concerts as the Prince Regent had his own band of 70 musicians and on one occasion, welcomed Rossini. In the great War of 1914 to 1918 the pavilion was a hospital that housed Indian soldiers injured in the conflict that is all part of our heritage. It was bought by the city fathers from Queen Victoria for £50,000 in the middle of the 19th century and this makes it the only Royal Palace owned by the people through the local authority. I believe the Royal Pavilion estate as we know it is under threat. A Heritage Lottery Funding bid has gone in and the outcome is not known yet. There are some proposals that are disturbing, the cafe that has being run by the Sewell family for 70 years will be replaced by a " visitor welcome building in the cafe facility that can be operated indoors and outdoors", cutting through the jargon this means the outdoor cafe, loved by residents and visitors, would go. The main entry would be from New Road there and are also worrying references to pay events taking place on the lawns; it is essential we maintain the lawns as with the rest of the glorious gardens. There have been consultations, for what they are worth, now let the people decide, old and young. We must preserve this lovely and historic part of Brighton from the developers, Hands off our Royal Pavilion
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    Created by Michael Bairstow
  • Eric Pickles: GIve Local Communities a true voice in the Planning System
    This petition calls upon Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to make the planning system work for ordinary people and put an end to the way in which big business and its multitude of corporate lawyers can bulldoze over the wishes of local communities. There are far too many instances where the planning system and its officials are exploited by the powerful at the expense of the powerless. Planning policy appears to be a box of goodies from which big business, developers and the legal profession can pick and choose what they want, ignoring those pieces that they don’t like. Take, for example, the plight of myself and my neighbours. Back in 1983 I moved into my house on a large new housing development in St.Ives, Cambridgeshire, knowing that a large Co-operative supermarket and associated car park were to be built on land behind my house. Being somewhat surprised at the size of the car park, before committing to purchase the property I asked the developer for assurances that nothing else would be built on the car park and was given those assurances. In 1985 the first application for a Petrol Filling Station and associated shop on the car park was lodged by the Co-op. Years before completion of the housing development they were claiming that their car park was and always would be under-utilized. The Application was refused by both the town and local district council. In 1990 the second planning application was lodged and again refused by the local district council on grounds of residential amenity and highway safety. An Appeal by the Anglia Co-operative Society was refused in 1991. In 2003 a third application was again refused by the local district council on the same grounds. The Anglia Regional Co-operative Society launched an Appeal which took the form of a public inquiry lasting two days. The Co-op was represented by a top London QC instructed by their agent. The representatives of the local district council deserve credit but they were defeated by the greater resources of the Co-op. The Appeal was granted in 2004, establishing a new precedent. In 2009, the local district to their credit again refused a new application on the grounds of residential amenity and highway safety, despite advice from their own planning officers that the decision would likely again go to Appeal at a cost to local council taxpayers. The application was granted on Appeal in 2011 with 5000.00 costs awarded against the local district council. Thus, not only were the views of local residents and local councilors ignored but they had to foot the bill for this privilege In both 2003 and in 2009, local residents argued their case on legitimate planning grounds. Their ward councilors made every effort to support and present these to members of The Development Management Panel who were convinced by the validity of the arguments. So where has it gone wrong? The Planning Inspector said in 2011: ‘Planning Authorities are not bound to accept the recommendations of their officers…(but)…need to show reasonable planning grounds for taking a contrary decision and produce relevant evidence on appeal. The councils' concerns …are legitimate planning concerns. However… The reasons for refusal have not been supported by relevant evidence’ [para-phrased] The fact of the matter is that neither the local district council nor residents have the wherewithal to fund these appeals. Surely it is enough that the local community is in agreement that this is not an appropriate site for a Petrol Filling Station? What has happened to democracy in the planning system when outcomes can be bought? You will note that in all of this, the Petrol Filling Station has never been built though planning permissions have been granted and then allowed to expire. So we are back where we started, with yet another planning application under consideration and yet another situation in which we are hopelessly outgunned by the resources of the so-called caring, sharing Co-op (this time Central England C-operative Limited) whose barrister warns us that a refusal of the application by local councilors ‘would inevitably bring more uncertainty for neighbours and further delay development of the site.’ To claim that building a Petrol Filling Station and shop within spitting distance of residents’ homes and gardens would not be of detriment to ‘residential amenity’ is invidious given that even the possibility of this has had a detrimental effect on my own and my neighbours’ lives for nigh on 30 years. It is also unworthy of the Co-operative Society, which trades on its reputation for fairness and ethical behaviour. But the fact of the matter is that the planning system is not designed for you and me or for the multitudes of ordinary people whom it oppresses. Sign my petition which calls for a true change to the planning system, one which gives a real voice to local communities and doesn’t represent an electoral sound-bite.
    77 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Jean Eason
  • Save the Downham Market and Wimbotsham green space.
    This high quality agricultural land represents the last green space separating the rural village of Wimbotsham and the sprawl of Downham Market. It also borders a conservation area. Developing this field will facilitate the future destruction of the last natural and untouched open space available to the residents of Downham Market. This is an area of great biodiversity and natural beauty used for recreation by residents for more than twenty years. Development will destroy a rare elevated panoramic fenland view.
    1,648 of 2,000 Signatures
    Created by Kelvin Loveday
  • RICS Regulation
    The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is a Service Provider operating within the domestic and commercial property market. The RICS is ‘Internally Regulated’ (in other words, it polices its own). In accordance with EU Law, in 2007, the RICS introduced Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Domestic consumer complaints are referred to an Ombudsman (called Ombudsman Services: Property) and commercial consumer complaints to an Arbitrator (Independent Dispute Resolution Service), both of whom are appointed and funded by the RICS. However, neither of these processes forms a satisfactory solution to complaints simply because the RICS itself does not follow its own laid down rules. Our homes are perhaps the most expensive purchase we will ever make. Most people will use a surveyor or an estate agent sometime in their lives and need assurances that if an RICS member fails in his or her responsibilities, then the matter will be fully investigated and where appropriate, the consumer will be adequately compensated. In the year 2012/2013, the Property Ombudsman processed a staggering 19,639 cases relating to RICS members who had failed to provide a satisfactory service. It is of note that two thirds of all complainants were dissatisfied with the results of those investigations. Please visit: http://ombudsmans61percent.blog.co.uk/ This site is well supported and contains dozens of consumer case histories and other information which highlight the seriousness of this situation. Arbitration as used by RICS Dispute Resolution fails because the Regulation arm of the RICS will not enforce its members to comply. One of our petitioners made a complaint to RICS Regulation concerning an RICS member who had been managing his investment property. Over a period of five years the RICS member had committed serious financial irregularities and was criminally negligent by failing to comply with statutory health and safety regulations thereby placing the lives of the incumbent tenants at risk. As a result the property was closed down by the local authority and all the tenants re-housed. RICS Regulation advised the petitioner that his complaint would be processed by Arbitration through the IDRS in accordance with their rules. However, in spite of the legislation in place, the RICS member refused persistently to proceed to arbitration. The petitioner spent six years trying to have his case processed during which time RICS Regulation failed to take any action against their member or to insist that he comply with due process. As a direct result of the intransigence by RICS, this senior RICS member has been allowed to remain in practice without redress while the petitioner lost his investment property and his tenants. No wonder then that RICS Regulation has been labelled ‘toothless and useless’, having shown little concern for the service provided to the consumer and giving far too much protection to its members. The RICS website may offer a clue here as to this intransigence. It states: “We cannot award compensation or force our members or regulated firms to do anything – or refrain from doing anything – even if that means they are in breach of our rules or regulations”. So what is the point of having the RICS Regulation in the first place¬? Consumer Futures, (formerly Consumer Focus), a group which represents consumers across regulated markets, was also aware of this problem within the RICS and sounded the alarm by stating: "Sometimes an entire market has developed practices that are not working in the customer's interests . . . The market in regulating surveyors and estate agents is a case in point. We believe this problem has its origins in the RICS apparent inability to adequately regulate its own Members and Regulated Firms." By joining the team in this petition, you can help to change the way members of the RICS are disciplined and in so doing ensure the services provided by the RICS are free from its internal influence. Your action will also help to protect tenants in rented accommodation whose welfare is paramount and who deserve a duty of care and protection. Every consumer failed by an RICS member deserves the right to a full investigation and adequate compensation where appropriate.
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    Created by Richard Lewendon
  • Make Housing Associations and Property Managers accountable to their customers
    Housing Associations and Property Managers set rents and service charges for thousands of households in the UK. Today, there is little apparent transparency of their processes or into whether their charges are fair and offer value for money. Many members of the public simply don't trust them and see no way to change the situation without costly legal action. With many customers of these organisations falling into 'at risk' categories for one reason or another, the lack of effective regulation is leaving many at risk of debt and homelessness. For instance, Circle 33 has recently announced increases in charges which sees some shared owners in flats face increases of up to 147%. This is combined with increases in building insurance in some cases of up to 40%. No real detailed explanation as to why such a hike (if you combine the 147% and 40% together they equal 623 times the current rate of inflation) has so far been issued to all those affected by these inflation-busting increases.
    113 of 200 Signatures
    Created by Paul Malyon Picture
  • Stop the MOD from building at Stonehenge, resulting in blocking out the sunrise
    Stonehenge is a valuable commodity for the English Tourist board. It is also the spiritual home of Pagans and Druids all over the United Kingdom. To build houses that cut out the sunrise, and prevent the Solstices from being celebrated as many have done over many years would be awful, not only that, it would ruin a beautiful landscape. It would stop a good percent of Stonehenge visitors from going and have a dramatic consequence on the visiting public to that area which will affect our tourist industry. Please do NOT build at Stonehenge. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-26525129
    22,633 of 25,000 Signatures
    Created by Raven Corvid Moonwind Picture
  • Halton Against Tolls
    The Runcorn Bridge connects two parts of the same town, Runcorn and Widnes, known collectively as Halton. The cost to local people who must use this bridge to go to work, to the hospital, to local shops, ice rink, cinema, cemetery, to Liverpool City and Airport, visit relations and many other reasons, the people of Halton will have to pay a local tax otherwise known as a toll. A voucher system has been offered giving locals a small discount but the bridge should be toll free for all.
    11,426 of 15,000 Signatures
    Created by Vince Clark
  • No three-storey care home on Penns Lane
    ***The developer is now applying for planning permission for a third time; his first two applications were unanimously rejected as inappropriate. However, for this application, the council have neglected to send out notification letters to nearby residents, and have scheduled the consultation to end on February 7th, leaving very little time to object. Please sign and share widely!*** This development has already had a serious impact on the local area and community. Two large and attractive houses have been demolished, and a huge number of trees uprooted during the clearance of the site, many of which were subject to tree preservation orders. The proposed development will fill the whole of a site surrounded on all sides by residential properties. Windows on three sides will overlook residents' gardens, removing any hope of privacy. Due to its entirely inappropriate height, the development will also cast these gardens into shadow for the majority of the day. Additionally, the development poses a real threat to the safety of road users in Penns Lane, situated, as it is, just metres from the junction of Penns Lane and Orphanage Road/Beech Hill Road – a known accident blackspot. Penns Lane is an extremely busy thoroughfare – statistics say 12000 cars use the road each week day. Parking provision is inadequate, and this will cause visitors and staff to use the narrow pavement to park vehicles, blocking a newly installed bicycle lane and dangerously narrowing the road for car drivers. Penns Lane has always been a pleasant residential area, with peaceful, private gardens. The proposed development is completely out of character for the neighbourhood, both in terms of architecture and function, and would destroy the quality of life currently enjoyed by residents. New Planning Application Number: 2015/10407/PA For more information, and to comment on the proposal visit: https://eplanning.birmingham.gov.uk/Northgate/PlanningExplorer/PLComments.aspx?pk=781541 and submit the number above. Consultation ends 7/2/15
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    Created by Michael Chatwin
  • Preserve green spaces in Newcastle upon Tyne
    This public open space has been used by the local community for many years; to play on, to walk dogs on and to sit and enjoy the spectacular view across the valley to Gateshead. Many people living close by do not have the luxury of back gardens and rely on this space to generally enjoy a grassy open area. The open space has long been shared with Atkinson Road primary school who use it as a sports field for the children. The school have been 'gifted' the land by the council after recent budget cut backs by the council have stopped the regular maintenance of the land and grass cutting in the summer months. The school has now applied for planning permission to erect a 2.4m fence with locked access gates which will stop local people from enjoying the space and will effectively obscure the view from the top of the hill across the valley. This means the land will only be used during school hours in term time -about 6 months of the year- leaving it unused for the rest of the time and inaccessable to the public all of the time.
    39 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Maddy Kardasz
  • Limit London property rental to average maintenance cost
    Fact 1. Londoners without property must pay a large and ever increasing proportion of their hard earned income to their landlord as rent. Fact 2. The market value of rent in London is generally far higher than the long term cost of property maintenance. Property owners in London therefore often have a rental income which is well above the cost of maintenance. How can that be morally justified? The rate of extortion from tenants to landlords has been steadily increasing for decades, to the point now where even middle income Londoners are increasingly being forced to leave their home town. Property ownership removes the need to pay rent, but why should it also give anyone the right to an unearned income? Limiting the maximum property rental in London to the average cost of maintenance would be a long term solution to the problem of accommodation costs in London. The incentive to buy would remain as the prospect of paying a large chunk of your salary every month into your own pocket rather than someone else's. The squealing which this would induce in rich win-win property investors would of course be deafening! FAQs for this campaign are listed here: https://sites.google.com/site/limitlondonrents/home/faqs
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    Created by Andrew Morris Picture
  • Say No to the proposed plans to build a Premier Inn in Ambleside
    Ambleside has plenty of accommodation providers to suit all visitors to the area. The tourist industry is built around the individuality of Ambleside. There will be a serious and significant financial impact on our existing B&B's, Guest Houses and hotels. The area is within the Conservation area which is thought to be the site of the original Viking settlement in Ambleside and contains all of the very oldest buildings.The proposed Premier Inn will mean the demolition of the original Victorian building known as Hill Top to enable a new 65 bedroom build and will be both detrimental and invasive to the privacy of local dwellings. The priority use for Hill Top should have been for more social housing, but capital gain came into play. The road and access is unsuitable for the proposed volume of additional vehicles and service vehicles associated with a Premier Inn. Your signature counts. Please help protect Ambleside and the Lake District.
    3,007 of 4,000 Signatures
    Created by Heidi Halliday