You wont be surprised that this jailed golf club owner feels ‘very hard done by’
The owner of an Oxfordshire golf club who went to jail for six months for dumping waste on his course without securing the correct planning permission has said he feels “very hard done by” after a court ordered that his local council pays him £27,000.
The bill is because Oxfordshire County Council seized his assets without securing the correct court order to do so.
Ron Wyatt was jailed for six months, along with his brother, who was jailed for four, because they used more than 56,000 cubic metres of waste material from the construction of the M40 services to carry out landscaping work at Waterstock Golf Club, but the council said they did not obtain the correct permission. A court order then demanded that they remove waste from land next to the club, which they failed to comply with and were therefore jailed.
Using waste to redevelop golf courses has been a growing trend in recent years – as clubs are often paid large amounts of money to take the soil.
The story became more controversial when it emerged that Oxfordshire City Council had itself moved soil from the site of a new leisure centre to fill in a ball game facility by an outside pool, and only applied for planning permission retrospectively – after Mr Wyatt had complained about it.
Speaking about the £27,000 award, Mr Wyatt said: “Our hope has always been to resolve this. We have served time in prison and feel very hard done by.”
The council wanted to seize some assets from Ron Wyatt, 72 and Mick Wyatt, 76 to help cover the £3.5 million clean-up operation.
Council spokesman Paul Smith said the court ruled 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 that the order, which was originally applied for in 2011, did not stand up.
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.”