IAN MICHAEL ALEXANDER STEWART
IAN STEWART - We have yet to source a really up to date picture of this Parish Councillor but we understand from the records maintained at Companies House that he has been a solicitor for a number of concerns and that may go some way to explaining his cavalier attitude to factual assimilation. Basically, solicitors are document men. They are almost always incapable of comprehending any situation where documents do not tell the whole story, such as when land is unregistered. In the case of Herstmonceux Museum there is of course more unregistered land than registered land and a defaulting licensed conveyancer: Steven Allport, failed to effect a a transfer in 1993, being subsequently struck off - but left the ownership of the registered section of land in limbo, thereby creating a de facto trust that has since joined forces with other trustees. As a solicitor practicing in the property arena, one would expect Mr Stewart to know that the ownership of unregistered land is the person or organisation that occupies it. Clearly, he has not researched the matter, leaving us to believe that his present council are taking instructions from the District Council as this Parish Council did with the 70 house grant of permission carbuncle in 2015.
According to the internet, Ian Michael Alexander Stewart is the company secretary of Mid Sussex Business Park (Management) Limited. He is also a consultant at Heringtons LLP in Eastbourne. In among all of this he now dabbles in local politics which potentially gives him the inside track as to property matters in Herstmonceux. Doubtless, Cllr Stewart has made all of the appropriate declarations of interest and that is not an issue that has been raised by Lime Park Heritage Trust. The matter at hand is the apparent indifference concerning a local historic asset - where the Parish Council owe local ratepayers, the occupiers of the land and Historic England, a duty to help conserve the historic built environment. Any failing in respect of that "duty" is termed impropriety. It is a fact that for many years Wealden District Council have been doing their best to disenfranchise the former occupier in favour of near neighbours. Such a course of action is of course illegal.
A strange thing happened on the evening of Monday the 21st of November 2016. Councillor Stewart, the Chairman of Herstmonceux Parish Council, opened the meeting with all the usual niceties and then invited a member of the public to speak on behalf of the Lime Park Heritage Trust (LPHT) in connection with Herstmonceux Museum. This Trust should not be confused with Lime Park Estate Limited, that is a residents property company that exists to maintain a shared driveway in Lime Park.
The subject of the Museum had been held over from the previous full council meeting in October, to give the members of this council a chance to think on how they might help their local Museum integrate in the community and how best the Museum might benefit the village. They had ample time to write to LPHT, but appear not to have done so.
The Parish Council had been copied in on correspondence addressed to Kelvin Williams and David Whibley, where there was some confusion as to tree works. It turned out the Weaden had their wires crossed on this matter, as they had in the previous year asked for these works to be carried out and seemed to have forgotten that. It was noted that Councillor Nash had been walking along the public footpath a few days earlier - and had been paying particular attention to the tree works in progress - leading us to conclude that Mr Nash was the engine of complaint, or at least that he was acting on disingenuous complaint from a neighbour in Lime Park who was stirring up trouble as is his wont. This is yet to be confirmed or denied.
You would then have thought though, that having learned that Wealden had got their wires crossed in 1986, and that the Generating buildings are the genuine article, that the members of the Parish Council would be overjoyed to know that they had a unique historic asset on their doorstep.
The speaker for LPHT made reference to an independent report by Archaeology South East and two books published by local history groups in Eastbourne and Wartling - that he had lodged copies of with the Parish Clerk; Clare Harrison. The committee were enlightened as to the exploits of Charles de Roemer, namely the formation of the Eastbourne Aviation Company based at the Crumbles in 1911, and that he had installed the same electricity generating machinery in Eastbourne as he had installed in Lime Park some years earlier. This information was not reflected in the retrospective (draft) minutes.
These latest revelations add another dimension to the importance of the only surviving wooden structure of its kind in the whole of Europe. It was though obvious that the chairman had other matters on his mind. He questioned the fact that the Trust was not registered at the Land Registry. Why this was on his mind can only be that Wealden's legal department had asked the Parish to fish for information. We await confirmation of this point by way of denial or acceptance. There is of course no obligation for a Trust to register with the Land Registry in certain circumstances, but they had in fact been in correspondence with the LR and the committee were told exactly that.
It appears from these remarks by the Chairman that this council are borderline - if not actually - discriminating as to land ownership. The identity of the owner of land is not a material planning consideration. Nor is the identity of any management group or individual. In making ownership an issue ahead of archaeology, Article 14 is invoked. Discrimination is of course unlawful in the United Kingdom as it is in most of Europe.
The other matter that the chairman raised was that Herstmonceux Museum is not registered with any associations. Herstmonceux Observatory is not registered with any museum associations, but what had that to do with this council's duty to help protect the historic built environment? The building is what it is and the trustees need all the help they can get to raise funds to carry out vital conservation works. The committee were apprised that the complex was on a Monument Protection Programme and that in itself is cause for concern to both Historic England and should be to any council with such a building within their geographical boundaries.
[STOP PRESS - Herstmonceux Museum is now a member of the Museums Association, a professional body that runs seminars on publicity and fund raising activities.]
What happened when the Parish committee got to point 12 on their agenda makes even less sense. Item 12 (i) was to take note of correspondence received from the LPHT and item 12 (ii) was for the committee to discuss any response to the correspondence and agree recommendations for any action to help the Trust to restore, and or gain additional recognition for the old generating buildings. But, these two items were neatly skipped over. Let us be clear, that there was no discussion and consequently no recommendations. Have you heard of such a thing? The meeting was recorded so that there is a verbatim record of the error.
The item was clearly marked for discussion. This was not an item where the Chairman could make a decision not to discuss the item on the advice of the clerk. That would be procedurally incorrect. If that was going to be the case, the Agenda that was issued should have reflected that. There was no explanation given by the Chairman as to his reasoning and that he had taken the decision to remove an item from the Agenda. There were no late items on any alternative Agenda.
When asked what had happened, the chairman replied that he'd got confused with Lime Cross and Lime Park. It was noted that there had been some discussion about the developers not replying to correspondence, presumably as to the lack of progress with the building of the 70 houses. The chairman promised the member of the public that the item would be discussed at the next meeting and that it would be on the next Agenda.
The Trust that operates Herstmonceux Museum had approached the Parish Council in good faith, hoping for help of any kind and suggestions if any were identified, but most especially not asking for any kind of monetary relief as a burden to the ratepayer.
The Parish Clerk published the Minutes of this meeting, but the member of the public that spoke during the allotted time disputes the accuracy of those minutes and is asking for the record to be corrected before the next full council meeting set for the 12th of December 2016.
An email has been sent to Mr Stewart, Councillor Bill Bentley (ESCC), Councillor Laurence Keeley (ESCC), Simon Goacher and of course Clare Harrison, the clerk to this council, asking for them to correct the minutes and include all of the points raised by both sides.
IAN STEWART'S DIRECTORSHIPS
According to the Companies House (Beta) website Ian Michael Alexander Stewart has had a total number of 8 appointments. His date of birth is given as: March 1950 making him 66 years old. According to the internet Mr Stewart has been married for many years to Sue Stewart. He is said to have two grown up children. Ian retired as a partner at Heringtons on the 31st March 2016. He now works two days a week for this company on residential and commercial property work as a consultant. These are Mr Stewart's appointments as listed on an official Government website:
MID SUSSEX BUSINESS PARK
(MANAGEMENT) LIMITED (06484505)
3 AVONDALE ROAD (EASTBOURNE) LIMITED (05630793)
MID SUSSEX BUSINESS PARK (MANAGEMENT) LIMITED (06484505)
5 LUSHINGTON ROAD LIMITED (05385983)
KURT J. LESKER COMPANY LIMITED (02426614)
OF HERSTMONCEUX MUSEUM
This was revealed between 1998 and 2000, when the true history of the Generating Works slowly unraveled as archaeologists trawled over the wooden building to find that it was the genuine article. You can imagine the effect that this news had on Douglas Moss, Chistine Nuttall and David Phillips - who had themselves conspired to pervert the course of justice, in the case of Doug Moss and David Phillips, going so far as to falsify the date attribution on photographs to make it appear that the occupier was in breach of an Enforcement Notice - that is in fact defective on several counts and a false instrument. These officers had built their careers and and Wealden's re-charge budgets on harassing the former occupier.
The Trust have paid no heed to the previous goings on. They are more concerned with conservation and finding a reasonable and beneficial use to pay for the upkeep and repairs to this marvel of modern science. The Parish Council have been invited to adopt a similar stance in the interests of conservation.
So far their attitude has been positively negative. The Chairman is more interested in dotting "i" and "t's" for his chums at Wealden DC than caring for the history on his doorstep.
HERSTMONCEUX MUSEUM - At the turn of the century some more enlightened souls followed the work of Thomas Alva Edison in the USA, and other pioneers of electricity for lighting and installed their own private generating facilities in the UK. Charles de Roemer, an electrical engineer, constructed this substantial complex in Lime Park based on coal that was used to produce combustible gas for an internal combustion engine. By 1982, this building was falling over and would have done so, except for the occupation of another engineer who recognised the industrial find and took the trouble to shore up the structure - so beginning the long climb to get this valuable historic asset the recognition that it deserves.
DISCRIMINATION - It is unlawful to discriminate against any person or organisation, with reference to Article 14 of the Human Rights Act 1998. That said, preferential treatment appears to be routinely given to some members of the community, while Wealden DC use their position of trust to give others a very rough ride to foster the finances of those they may have helped in the past for consideration of another kind. Consideration does not always have to be the folding stuff. It can be the grant of a planning permission.
The pictures above are some examples of planning consents (or development agreed as being permitted) that has been granted in and around Lime Park, Herstmonceux. In the case of Lime and Oak View [lower right], this is a massive house built on green belt without any suggestion of affordability or other special circumstances. Double garages is a luxury not a necessity. Compare the cooperation of Wealden in the procurement of these consents, with the £500,000 of taxpayers money spent to prevent the restoration of Herstmonceux Museum in days gone by. Anyone looking at the facts would have to question why this council is acting so perversely - when planning permission all around the site is being given for much larger developments. To include a grant for 70 houses in the adjacent field. You might ask if the builders were connected in any way with any council member - and if they were - if suitable declarations were made.
COUNCILLOR LINE UP FOR 2016
Clare Harrison (time for change already)
SUSSEX INDEX A - Z
CUCKMERE VALLEY - EXCEAT
FORMER STABLES - Wealden might say to one owner that they don't need permission to change the appearance of the outside of a building, such as the change from clay peg tiles to cement tiles on the Old Rectory in Lime Park - that completely changed the appearance of the stable keepers cottage. Then again, they might treat another occupier in Lime Park unfavourably, demanding a planning application for works that are in reality a permitted development, such as repairs to pre-existing woodwork.
Unfavourable treatment = discrimination in English law, as per the famous case of Kelly Davis a father of two, of Bath, won his civil action against the now defunct Wansdyke District Council last year when a Judge at Bristol County Court ruled that planning officers had "conducted themselves in a consistently unhelpful and obstructive fashion" in refusing to grant him planning permission for work on his home between 1989 and 1991. In this case the award of damages was £750,000.
- Heringtons is the trading name of Heringtons LLP which is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales (registered number OC374843) and which is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (registered number 569513). Registered office: Bank Chambers, High Street, Rye. TN31 7JR Our professional indemnity insurers are AmTrust Europe Limited of No 2, Minster Court, Mincing Lane, London EC3R 7BB and the territorial cover of that insurance is worldwide.
Heringtons have five branches that cover a lot of the south coast from Rye
to Eastbourne. You can contact Heringtons at these addresses: