I REFER to your round-up last week regarding the legal row following the much-loved tree felled in our village.
I attended the court hearing as an observer and, not being legally minded, was amazed at the antics of the North Yorkshire County Council’s legal team.
They spent over two hours arguing legal precidents (jargon), having no relation to the case in court.
They did, however, assert that Scarborough Borough Council “sat on the fence” over the protection order placed on the tree some years earlier.
Democratically elected borough council members had placed the protection order on the tree and the county council were now trying to get Scarborough Council’s officers to side with them on the demolition.
Both sides provided “big guns” to forward their respective cases.
However, we must not forget the big guns provided by the county council earlier in a case brought by a resident of Irton, representing the tree campaign group, who fought to have a road closure order (to enable the contractors to remove the tree safely) overturned on the grounds of it being technically improperly issued.
The judge in that case found against the resident and ordered him to pay all costs of the case to the North Yorkshire Council (including additional cost of a barrister, employed to help North Yorkshire’s legal team fight the resident’s arguments).
These costs, including the barrister (for about an hour’s court work) amounted to over £2,500.
Whilst the legal “wrangle” goes on in the courts between North Yorkshire County Council and Scarborough Borough Council, costing ratepayers probably tens of thousands of pounds extra, a local resident is left to find £2,500 for standing up for the rights of the village and its beloved tree.
Can any individual afford such costs against whom they, essentially, employ?
Richard and Frances Harrison