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.”
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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