Plaistow resident demands answers from CEO John Morea, at SGN

PORE has been given this copy of a letter from a local resident - sent to Mr John Morea, Chief Executive Officer of SGN.

SGN own and operate the substantial gas conditioning plant at Crouchland Biogas and have a commercial contract with Crouchland Biogas Ltd to carry out the conditioning of the gas produced. SGN (John Morea) signed a 20 year partnership with Crouchland Biogas Ltd in 2013 without planning consent, or even a planning application in place.

Other residents may also feel inclined to write to Mr Morea at SGN or/and Mr Alistair Phillips-Davies at SEE PLC, Inveralmond House, 200 Dunkeld Road, Perth, PH1 3AQ.

They may also want to question why a company entrusted with the operation of a highly complex infrastructure network would invest £4.5 million in a basket case of a company now with debts of £37 million - and who in the last year have apparently made a loss of £11 million on a £2.6 million turnover!

Exactly where the millions of pounds have gone is the subject of much speculation and we would welcome Mr Morea's thoughts and comments.


11th October 2017

SGN Chief Executives Office
St Lawrence House
Station Approach
Horley
Surrey RH6 9HJ
Fao: Mr John Morea

Dear Mr Morea,

CROUCHLAND BIOGAS LTD.

With reference to your letter dated 29th August 2017, you will now be aware that what you describe as the democratic planning process has now been concluded and the Planning Inspectorate have published a decision dismissing all of Crouchland's appeals and upholding the enforcement notices.

Now this last vestige of your defence for SGN's continued support of this morally and commercially bankrupt company has disappeared, I trust you will confirm that SGN will dissolve what remains of your partnership and remove the unlawful equipment.
Noting that SGN have apparently invested £4.57 million into a facility that was constructed without planning permission would suggest wrong doing that is more than simply commercial incompetence. I can but hope a full detailed forensic investigation will be undertaken into SGN's involvement and the culpable individuals.

Over the past years whilst this plant has been operating at a commercial level I, and many others, have suffered from the loss of our right to the peaceful enjoyment of our property. It is SGN's continued support that has enabled the plant to operate at such a level. The Parish Council and local community as a whole are deserving, and expect, recompense from SGN for the years of disturbance and expense of fighting this SGN-supported unlawful operation.

Yours sincerely

Can you help - and press reports........

  1. IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION OR CONCERNS REGARDING THE WAY IN WHICH THE CROUCHLAND BIOGAS BUSINESS HAS BEEN CONDUCTED, or have information regarding potential recoveries for the state, please contact the Administrators as soon as possible. Do contact us (by private message or email help@pore.org.uk) if you would prefer, or if you need the administrators' contact details. Remember that around £40 million is owed to the main creditor - how has this happened and who is responsible?

  2. The administrators for Crouchland Biogas are required to establish what assets the company owns and to consider the way in which the Company’s business has been conducted, in order that under the provisions of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986, a report can be issued to the Secretary of State for Business and Industrial Strategy on the conduct of the Directors.

  3. For your information the current Directors are;
    Leon Mekitarian,
    Ewen Angus Cameron,
    William Luttman-Johnson
    Philip Gerrard,
    and Andrew Vernau.

    Directors who resigned recently are;
    Barry Evans
    and Graham Woolfman.

    Part of the Administrators schedule of work is to ‘Consider money laundering regulations and to perform immediate checks'.

    Please contact the administrators if you have any information that you think may be helpful.

  4. EVERYBODY'S WRITING ABOUT INSPECTOR KATIE PEERLESS' DECISION!

    Farmers Weekly; https://www.fwi.co.uk/…/west-sussex-biogas-business-loses-p…

    Midhurst and Petworth Observer...
    http://www.midhurstandpetworth.co.uk/…/villagers-win-their-…

    Landmark Chambers
    http://www.landmarkchambers.co.uk/news.aspx?id=5159

    39 Essex Chambers
    http://www.39essex.com/inspector-dismisses-planning-enforc…/

    Josef Ransley
    http://www.chichesterdistrictcouncil.info/…/crouchlands-bi…/

Decision made! Planning Inspector dismisses all the appeals!

All the Crouchland Biogas appeals have been dismissed by the Planning Inspector!

Put simply, this means that what they have done is unlawful and must stop. All the unauthorised equipment must be removed and the lagoons must be emptied and returned to their former state.

There is a possibility for Crouchland Biogas Ltd (or in fact the Administrators, FRP Advisory) to appeal this decision through the High Court but only on points of law ( if they believe the inspector has erre...d in law) - so we will have to wait and see.

This is a very positive decision for our community. The Inspector recognised the harm and detriment to our rural environment and the safety issues of the unlawful operation.

The decision means they have 1 month to cease unlawful operations (e.g. the import of feedstock from outside the farm and the use of the unauthorised equipment) and 18 months to dismantle all unauthorised equipment including the huge lagoon.

They can still operate the original, permitted, small scale on-farm AD which the community supported.

This sorry affair should never have been allowed to arise and has taken over 4 years and tens of thousands of pounds of our communities resources. We firmly believed in our cause and felt compelled to fight the injustice. Many lessons have been learnt; none more important than to never underestimate the passion and energy of a community to protect itself and it's environment when it has been wronged.

We will be calling on SGN the national gas company that has supported this unlawful activity to now do the right thing and remove its unauthorised gas conditioning equipment - the least they can do for the upset and distress they have helped cause.

Thank you to everyone for their continued support, including those from further afield and even those in the AD community who just knew that this site was dragging down the reputation of the AD Industry. Huge thanks to our Parish Councils, our legal team and our experts who have given time, money and substantial effort to get to this point. Despite all the thank yous, we still feel let down by certain organisations who failed to stop/slow this company when the alarm bells were ringing loudly. We hope lessons have been learnt here too.

It is not the end of the story, but a very significant step forward in returning this area to its rural tranquil environment.

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Boxal Bridge in Kirdford - action needed by this friday!

As Crouchlands is quiet, we felt that our local supporters would be very interested to read of a heritage site down the road in Kirdford which needs your attention by Friday.

West Sussex County Council has announced that they intend to replace Boxal Bridge and have placed the issue in their forward Plan for October. (CLICK ON THE LINK AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS ARTICLE TO SEE A PHOTO OF THE BRIDGE)

Update:

-          The bridge is safe and has passed the last 7 inspections (done every 2 years) and the next one will take place in 2019.

-          The bridge appears on an 1836 map.  Three independent Highways engineers agree it is in need of some attention but NOT REPLACEMENT.

-          It is a community asset in the Kirdford Neighbourhood Plan and listed as a heritage asset in Chichester District plan.

-          It is one of 4 bridges giving access to and from the village, two of which are listed.

-          The petition organised by KKWG to save the bridge in 2015 called for it NOT to be demolished attracted 3,376 signatures and triggered a WSCC Committee meeting.

-          At that meeting, WSCC adopted a resolution, October 16th, 2015

-          “that WSCC Highways work closely with the Kirdford and WG Parish Councils to explore the safest and most acceptable project for the future of the bridge, taking into account the rural environment as well as architectural and historical merit." 

-          Such close working has not happened.

-          Both Parishes OBJECT as they have done since 2013

-          The current plan FOR REPLACEMENT is unacceptable.

PROPOSED SCHEME TO REPLACE BOXAL BRIDGE – WSCC Forward Plan, October 2017

The decision is required for the replacement of Boxal Bridge, which currently suffers from numerous structural and safety issues.  The bridge is located on the borders of the parishes of Kirdford and Wisborough Green and carries the C109 over Boxal Brook.

“There has been extensive local objection to the proposal to replace the bridge, including a large public petition.  Other options have been considered for the scheme addresses all of the issues and will minimise future maintenance costs to the council.

“The Cabinet Minister will be asked to agree to the development of a scheme for the full replace-ment of Boxal Bridge.”

Decision will be made by;

Cabinet Member for Highways + Infrastructure – Bob Lanzer, Crawley

0330 222 2871 (Cabinet office); Local issues 01293 884789

Decision Month

October 2017

Consultation

Kirdford + WG Parish council, Local CC member, any other relevant stakeholders

IF YOU WISH TO COMMENT PLEASE CONTACT THE FOLLOWING TWO PEOPLE BY FRIDAY

RICHARD HAMMOND,                   

HIGHWAYS DEPT

WEST SUSSEX COUNTY COUNCIL

COUNTY HALL

WEST ST

CHICHESTER PO19 1RG

WEST SUSSEX

BOB LANZER

CLLR LEAD HIGHWAYS/CRAWLEY

C/0 WEST SUSSEX COUNTY COUNTIL

COUNTY HALL

WEST ST

CHICHESTER PO19 1RG

WEST SUSSEX

Cabinet Office: 0330 222 3838

Email: bob.lanzer@westsussex.gov.uk

https://drillordrop.com/2015/04/14/villagers-fight-to-save-historic-bridge-near-proposed-oil-site/

Over £40 MILLION owed by Crouchland Biogas to main creditor, Privilege Finance

Crouchland Biogas is in administration, with their main creditor alone, Privilege Finance, owed OVER £40 MILLION POUNDS.

The Directors of Crouchland Biogas (excluding those now appointed from Privilege Finance) over the past few years have been; (Ewen) Angus Cameron, William Luttman-Johnson, Leon Mekitarian, Barry Evans (resigned March 2016) and Graham Woolfman (resigned December 2014).

It is almost beyond belief that this company could secure such funding without planning consent. Perhaps it is not just this community that has been lied to.

The forensic department of the Administrators will be facing a real challenge - but we are sure they up to it. There are multiple questions to answer and the actions of these people will be under the spotlight.

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...and now the land at Crouchland FARM is in the hands of the receivers....

Land at Crouchland FARM (over 400 acres which was owned by William Luttman Johnson) is now in the hands of the receivers.

Crouchland Farm trading as normal, while buyers sought for freehold land.

Receivers at FRP Advisory appointed over farmland.

Jason Baker and Alastair Massey, partners at FRP Advisory, the business advisory firm, have been appointed as Law of Property Act receivers ("LPA Receivers") over the freehold land known as Crouchland Farm ("Crouchland Farm") abutting to, but excluding the farmhouse property.

The farming activities continue as normal over Crouchland Farm, based in Billingshurst, near Plaistow, West Sussex, while the LPA Receivers encourage interested parties in the freehold land to make early contact. The land totals an area of over 400 acres.

The appointment of LPA Receivers over Crouchland Farm follows the the separate appointment on 7 August 2017 of FRP Advisory partners Jason Baker and Alastair Massey, as joint administrators to Crouchland Biogas Limited (“Crouchland Biogas” or “the Company”), a renewable energy producer based in Plaistow, West Sussex. The Company produces energy from an anaerobic digestion plant based on Crouchland Farm. The joint administrators continue to trade the business and retain its 11 staff while seeking new investment and ownership, while maintaining an on-going evaluation of the financial position of the Company in the interests of creditors.

Since inception the plant has produced over 106 GIga Watt hours of electricity, the equivalent power to heat over 100,000 British homes. Feedstock for the plant is sourced locally from the land on the farm and surrounding areas.

More recently the energy business has faced changes in the funding system for renewable energy coupled with pricing declines in the wholesale electricity market. Pressure on Crouchland Biogas' cash-flow became unsustainable under its current financial structure, leaving no viable alternative for ongoing trading other than to seek the protection of administration while marketing the business and assets for sale.
ENDS

Contact - Morgan Rossiter:
James Rossiter, Tania Wild, Sarah Cooper-Lesadd
frp@morganrossiter.com

Farmers Weekly announcement; http://www.fwi.co.uk/business/west-sussex-farm-ad-business-goes-administration.htm

And listen to Radio Sussex interview; http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p059wlk6 from Wednesday morning, (from 1.44 - 1.47 minutes)