Within the Law

by joetwo

O’Malley Builders announced their plans to develop Grantham Wood into a new housing estate on the first day of spring in O’Neils Hotel. Before the second day was over there were fifty objections from local groups in the planning office. Grantham Wood was a priceless public landmark, they said, with both historical and biological value and that it would be a tragedy to throw it away.

O’Malley was immediately placed on the defensive. They claimed that the housing was needed, that it would bring jobs and revenue to the area and that, to put it simply, the development would turn Grantham Wood from a decaying wilderness to a pleasant, beautiful, community.

There were letters in the papers, calls to radio stations, TV interviews and even questions in parliament. O’Malley was within the letter of the law, some people said, but perhaps not the spirit. They were trying to push the development through without the consent of the locals. As one commentator put it, it was almost as if they were “Raping the locality”.

In the face of rising objections, O’Malley decided to bring the matter to the courts. The residents had a crack team of lawyers, pro bono, and there were always a vocal team of residents in the courtroom aiming to interrupt O’Malley’s counsel whenever they spoke. It was occasionally tempestuous, the bailiffs had remove people on occasion but in the end O’Malley was right. They were within the law.

There was an appeal, three months and thousands of Euros wasted, but in the end O’Malley Builders triumphed. They began clearing the trees in the Wood.

But things were not that easy. Whenever the contractors came into the site on the morning they would find that their equipment had been sabotaged. Lines cut, fuel tainted. It slowed everything down. They security installed, never saw anything it was like there were ghosts doing it, unseen and unheard.

The development ground to a halt. O’Malley it seems may have been within the law but that was no guarantee they were going to get their way.

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Photo by Thomas Marlowe
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Written for The Light and Shade Challenge for Monday 4th of August 2014

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