World News

Council engineer gets his van CRUSHED by hydraulic road bridge

That parking spot’s a tight squeeze! Council engineer gets his van CRUSHED by hydraulic road bridge when it lifts open

  • An engineer parked his van well beyond a safety bridge barrier on Wednesday
  • As a result, when the mechanical hinge of the bridge opened it crushed the van
  • The hinge of the bascule bridge was opening up to let a boat sail through below
  • The incident happened on Wednesday along part of Poole Harbour in Dorset 

A hapless council worker was ‘in for a rollicking’ after parking his van too close to a lifting bridge which crushed it when it opened.

The hydraulic road bridge that spans part of Poole Harbour in Dorset is currently closed to traffic for maintenance works.

The unnamed engineer working on the structure parked the Fiat Talento well beyond the red and white safety barrier thinking it was safe to do.

A council worker saw his van crushed in unusual fashion by a hydraulic road bridge in Dorset

The incident happened when he left it too close to the mechanical hinge of the bascule bridge

But he left it too close to the mechanical hinge of the bascule bridge which lifted up to let a passing boat through.

At that moment the hulking steel counterweight on one arm of the bridge swung down on top of the Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council van and squashed it.

Luckily the workman was not in the vehicle at the time and was not injured.

But he was overheard by witnesses telling a colleague that he would be in big trouble.

Lee Hebditch, a transport manager at Poole Docks, saw the aftermath of the incident that happened on Wednesday.

Lee, 48, said: ‘I was cycling home for lunch I saw the lifting bridge was in the up position.

‘As I got closer I could see the white council van parked the other side of the safety barrier.

‘The bridge has this solid grid work that acts as a counterweight and that had completely crushed the van.

‘I saw a guy who I think was the unlucky workman because I overheard him say he was going to get a good rollicking from his boss. He looked a bit embarrassed about it.

‘I think he must have thought that because the bridge was closed to cars he could park well beyond where the safety barrier is and either forgot the bridge was going to open or just parked too close to it.’

The bascule bridge was opening up to let boats sail through below along the Poole Harbour

Gary Powell, head of engineering at BCP Council, said: ‘One of our maintenance vans has been severely damaged at Poole lifting bridge.

‘The bridge is currently closed for scheduled maintenance works and no one has been injured in this incident.

‘The vehicle was recovered and we are moving quickly to assess any possible damage to the bridge.’

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World News

Claudia Schiffer takes council to court in planning row with neighbour

Claudia Schiffer takes council to court in bitter planning row with neighbour who was given go ahead to double the size of cottage next to supermodel’s £5million 530-acre Suffolk estate

  • Couple say Grade 1 listed home’s historic vibe would be spoilt by the extension
  • There’s a 30m distance between two properties near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
  • High Court judges quashed the planning consent for the two-storey extension
  • Neighbour Hans Pilo has resubmitted application for consideration by council 

Claudia Schiffer and her film director husband Matthew Vaughn have taken their local council to court after they approved their neighbours controversial home extension plans.

The celebrity couple have been trying to stop Hans Pilo building a modern extension near their Grade I listed £5million manor home, south of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

Ms Pilo, understood to be a relative of multi-millionaire Jens Pilo, who used to own the estate before Schiffer and Vaughn, lodged plans in May.

She wants to bulldoze her existing outbuildings and double the size of the house by fitting a two-storey extension.

Claudia Schiffer and her film director husband Matthew Vaughn (pictured together last year) have taken their local council to court

The celebrity couple have been trying to stop Hans Pilo building a modern extension to Coldham Hall Cottage (right) near their Grade I listed £5million manor home, Coldham Hall (left), south of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

But supermodel Schiffer, 49, and Snatch producer Vaughn, 48, think the plans would ruin the historic vibe of their country estate where they live with their three children, Caspar, 16, Clementine, 14, and Cosima, nine.

The couple have now hired lawyers and took West Suffolk Council to the High Court after it approved the plans last October.

Following a recent hearing, judges at the High Court quashed the planning consent which the council gave under the Town and Country Planning Act ruling that it hadn’t been determined appropriately.

They then ordered a fresh planning application be submitted which should be considered on its own merit.

Ms Pilo resubmitted her extension plans last month and they are yet to be determined by the council.

Ms Pilo, understood to be a relative of multi-millionaire Jens Pilo, who used to own the estate (pictured) before Schiffer and Vaughn lodged plans in May

Judges have ordered a series of conditions which the council has to adhere to when deciding the proposals.

Judges ordered the council to consider the ‘heritage issues of the proposed development without any reference to any previous heritage assessment’ and to ‘reconsider the issues of curtilage and listing without reference to any previous heritage assessment.’

Lawyers acting on behalf of the couple said in a letter to the council: ‘In order that your council can properly reconsider the Applicants proposals with an open mind and in accordance with the court order, we urge that the council requires the applicant to submit a DAS (Design and Access Statement) as a necessary part of the application.’

Schiffer and Vaughn have lived on the Grade I listed Tudor estate, south of Bury St Edmunds, for some 17 years, having purchased the property shortly before their wedding in 2002.

Schiffer (left and right) and Vaughn have lived on the Grade I listed Tudor estate, south of Bury St Edmunds, for some 17 years

Vaughn is best known for gangster thrillers Snatch and Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, and for directing the Kingsman series starring Taron Egerton.

Lawyers for the German catwalk star, 49, and Vaughn, 48, objected to the neighbours’ initial plans in a letter to West Suffolk District Council.

They said that the sight of the cottage’s extension would jar with the 16th Century hall and the surrounding old farm buildings.

It added: ‘We consider that the applications are technically deficient, lacking any assessment of impact upon heritage assets, making no attempt to put forward public benefits, lacking an arboricultural report, and accompanied by a woefully inadequate Design and Access Statement.

‘More substantially, the proposed development, by nature of its large and inappropriate footprint, bulk, scale and mass, would have a negative impact on multiple heritage assets, unjustified by public benefits or in any other way.’

Drawing on a heritage impact assessment, Schiffer argued that the cottage has a clear presence within the settings of three local heritage assets.

Her lawyer added: ‘It is visible, even in its present form, from within the open farmyard area, even in the summer months, and is considered to make a neutral to negative contribution to the settings and significance of the identified heritage assets.

‘The large overtly residential extension would be detrimental to the settings of the heritage assets, and the proposed garage and store would add… substantial built form to the seemingly rural character of the farmstead.’

This picture shows an artists impression of Claudia Schiffer’s neighbours house plans, with the ground floor on the left and first floor on the right

Despite the couple’s opposition, planning officer Adam Yancey wrote that Ms Pilo’s work would cause little disruption to the Vaughns because of the 30m distance between the two properties.

He said: ‘It is therefore considered that the proposed extension will not result in any material adverse impact on the neighbouring property in terms of overlooking, loss of light or having an overbearing impact.’

According to Architectural Digest, the 14-bedroom mansion is set in 530 acres and is believed to have been given its name by Queen Elizabeth I after she was served cold ham there.

In a 2017 interview, Schiffer told the magazine that she and Vaughn wanted the property to be ‘child- and animal-proof’.

She is quoted as saying: ‘We’re not very formal. The whole idea of the house is that everyone can roam. ‘I wanted it to be rustic so you felt like you could have muddy dogs running around and kids with jam on their hands.’

In response to the concerns, a West Suffolk Council spokesman said: ‘The applicant resubmitted their application and we are considering it following our normal processes.

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Whittlesea council monitor sends misconduct allegation to anti-corruption watchdog

The government-appointed monitor who recommended sacking the troubled Whittlesea Council has referred a case of conflict of interest to the corruption watchdog.

The Andrews government has moved to sack the council after the monitor, Yehudi Blacher, found it was riven by “factional and personal antagonisms”.

Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek has decided to sack the Whittlesea City Council. Credit:Eddie Jim

Mr Blacher’s report, which was tabled in State Parliament on Tuesday, found the council was “broken by years of internal division, factionalism, personality conflicts and bitter legacies of perceived betrayals”. He said governance had collapsed at the northern suburbs Whittlesea Council “along with its reputation”.

"The council’s deep factional divides and personality conflicts have rendered it dysfunctional,” he wrote. Legislation to sack the council was introduced in the Victorian Parliament on Tuesday.

Mr Blacher said there had been several instances reported in which some councillors were alleged to have used their official positions to influence decisions in their own interests or those of their families or “other parties” rather than the communities they represented.

Mr Blacher gave no further details.

“I have made two further referrals arising from my investigations: the first to the Chief Municipal Inspector and the second to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission.”

Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek said the government had accepted all of Mr Blacher’s recommendations, including the council’s sacking and appointment of administrators until the 2024 council elections.

“Victorians deserve and expect the highest standard of governance and integrity from their councils,” he said. “Unfortunately, the monitor has found that this particular council has fallen well short of those high standards.”

The Whittlesea Council declined to comment until the bill to enact the sacking passed through both houses of the Victorian Parliament.

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